Faculty Seminars - Rutgers Jewish Studies
Open to faculty and graduate students only
Fall 2014 Seminar
Away for a Health Cure: German-Jewish Encounters at Central European Spas in the Eighteenth Century
Natalie Naimark-Goldberg, Bar-Ilan University
Lunch will be served.
Thousands of Jews in modern times joined the community of vacationers that spent the summer months visiting spas and resorts in Central Europe. The practice of traveling to the spas became fashionable with the rise of the bourgeoisie, and visits to these places, typically devoted to the combined goals of health, recreation and sociability, symbolized the adoption of the middle-class lifestyle by this Jewish clientele.
Focusing on the early stages of this phenomenon, this lecture will first examine what kind of Jews attended these places in the eighteenth century and why; it will then analyze the type of encounters that took place there between Jews and Christians. Attention will be given to the role of medical considerations, which largely determined the social reality at the spas and in certain cases helped overcome cultural barriers between Jews and non-Jews.