This chapter shows that the family became an object of fascination and idealization in the “bourgeois century.” Like other 19th-century members of the bourgeoisie, Jews made family a central value and symbol. Far more than an ideology or a vehicle for acculturation, the family provided social sustenance as well as financial support, business resources, and connections. But family in and of itself did not lead to bourgeois respectability. Only a family that exhibited the traits of what Germans called Bildung — education and cultivation — would do. Bildung appealed to Jews because one did not have to be born into it. It could be acquired at the university, in cultured circles, and in a family of good breeding. Moreover, Bildung could be joined to Jewish ethnic and religious identities.
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