The Marriage Plot: A presentation by Naomi Seidman

  • Jewish Community Library 1835 Ellis Street San Francisco, CA 94115

Free admission with free garage parking on Pierce Street between Ellis and Eddy streets.

For many nineteenth-century Eastern European Jews, modernization entailed the abandonment of arranged marriage in favor of the “love match.” Drawing from the research for her new book, The Marriage Plot: Or, How Jews Fell in Love with Love, and with Literature, Naomi Seidman will describe the role played by literature in this transformation, providing a “sentimental education” in the rules of romance and the choreography of courtship.

But because the new conceptions of romance were rooted in traditions of Christianity and chivalry, the Jewish attitude toward it was tempered by the pulls of family and community that could still be found in nineteenth-century Hebrew and Yiddish literature. Twentieth-century Jewish writers turned back to tradition, finding pleasures in matchmaking, intergenerational ties, and sexual segregation.

Naomi Seidman, PhD, is Koret Professor of Jewish Culture at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow. Her previous books are A Marriage Made in Heaven: The Sexual Politics of Hebrew and Yiddish and Faithful Renderings: Jewish-Christian Difference and the Politics of Translation. She is the NEH Senior Scholar in Residence at the Center for Jewish History in New York for the 2016-17 year. She received her PhD at the University of California, Berkeley in 1995.

Program made possible, in part, by Judy Baston.

Co-presented by Lehrhaus Judaica.