06 January 2016

More Victorian Jewish Miscellany: hats, secession, and Schone Aussicht

1. In high school, I searched earnestly online for the paintings of Moritz Oppenheim, and found only tiny, blurry reproductions.
Today I searched again and lo! Quite a number of them are on Wikipedia, in extremely high resolution – yay!

You know in vol. VIII, where a man in the train pokes fun at a young woman for having her hair covered? – I always wondered, How could he tell? – because in the pictures of Rav Hirsch's family all the women look (to my untrained eye) perfectly à la mode in their headdresses, such that a stranger would have a hard time telling whether a woman was covering her hair or not – well! here is the answer. You can see in the Oppenheim paintings that those beautiful frothy bonnets are worn over a sort of under-cap, which was not the case in the non-Jewish population.

this young lady is also standing under a tallis, at her chassuna.

2. Q. What did the rabbanim of the time have to say about the US Civil War?
A. IIRC somewhere in Rav Hirsch, after slavery ended in the South, he mentions its end with some relief.
Today I re-found a website that I misplaced years ago, which has --among a great many other curios -- lectures on the subject from American rabbis. Here, for one thing, is R' Illowy's lecture on States' Rights, which apparently pleased the secessionists of New Orleans so much when it was published that they invited him down to become rabbi of that city.


3. Schopenhauer lived in the same building as Rav Hirsch and at the same time, but apparently there is no evidence that the two ever met. I always thought that fascinating, wow, like a particle accelerator gone awry.
Anyway, because Schopenhauer also lived in that (now vanished) house on Schone Aussicht, it is a famous house and there are loads of pictures and a virtual tour of it online – here.


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