web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Sections » Books »

Title: Charlotte and Lionel: A Rothschild Love Story

Share Button

Title: Charlotte and Lionel: A Rothschild Love Story
Author: Stanley Weintraub
Publisher: Free Press, New York, NY



Europe had its royalty, its nobility… and its Rothschilds.

Throughout Jewish history we have had our Jewish “royalty,” but even today the name Rothschild is legion.

During England’s Victorian era, Lionel Rothschild achieved a primacy both in the family’s banking and financial services empire, as well as in politics. The personal family history became intimately intertwined with that of Benjamin Disraeli, who remained unabashed of his Jewish roots, and with that of Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone. The Rothschilds were even among the intimates of Queen Victoria herself and her court.

It was during this era that the House of Rothschild assisted the empire building of the Victorian government. Even Gilbert and Sullivan celebrated the family’s ultimate wealth in song. In their operetta Utopia, Limited, “a Rothschild” became a metaphor for ultimate wealth, just as
“rich as Rockefeller” was a metaphor for ultimate wealth to Americans during the mid-20th century. No major governmental or business undertaking was possible without the financial participation of major banking family firms, and The House of Rothschild retained primacy in English economics.

Charlotte and Lionel began their marriage as intimates together with Queen Victoria and her consort, Prince Albert, and the two gentlemen collaborated on some of the noblesse oblige of the wealth, such as charitable endeavors, art collecting - even Rothschild’s investment that made the Suez Canal possible.

When Lionel was yet a young man of 27, Charlotte was his 16-year-old cousin by his uncle Carl, of the Naples banking branch of the family. Lionel’s father was already the richest man in London, and his elegant, society-focused mother Hannah Cohen Rothschild made the match between the cousins (not unusual for Victorian Jewish families). The Naples Rothschilds’ primary home was back in Frankfurt, whence the family derived and where Charlotte’s mother
Adelheid stylishly entertained prominently.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild’s family had been prominent for just two generations, having seen 19 grandchildren born at that point - eight of the cousins would marry one another, five others married across generations and two remained unmarried. Only four (all daughters) “married
out.”

Home tutored, Lionel was quite shy and unassuming, but was already making his mark in the family enterprise at 18, when his future shidduch was first proposed (probably unbeknownst to him). Following an apprenticeship at the Rothschild bank in Brussels (the young bankers were always apprenticed out to an uncle’s establishment, not their own father’s), Lionel came home to London in order to assume a growing dominant position at one of the pillars of The Royal Exchange (“Jews” corner). This far corner would not long remain quite so obscure.

Although Charlotte was not destined to hold any position in the family’s enterprise, she was extremely well educated, could read and converse in several languages, and even was made familiar with business affairs. After her 17th birthday in 1835, the engagement to her cousin Lionel became official, and her grandmother Gutle, Mayer’s widow, was determined to survive to the wedding day (she actually survived well into the ’40s).

The story is told about grandmother Gutle that she summoned a physician to complain about the ineffectiveness of his prescriptions, to which he replied, “Unfortunately, we cannot make you younger.” Her now famous rejoinder: “Your mistake, doctor - I do not ask you to make me younger – it is older that I desire to become.”

This fascinating book is full of wonderful details like that, including the commingled family history with that of Benjamin Disraeli and other well known historical figures. Lionel was an openly practicing Jew, active as both participant and official in London’s Jewish community, and Charlotte exercised her prerogatives in charitable activities, both in Jewish communal educational pursuits (establishment of Talmud Torahs) as well as providing housing for poor immigrant families and soup kitchens.

This was one of the world’s wealthiest and most renowned Jewish families who never abandoned their heritage and, at least in that generation, imbued their children with values of Yiddishkeit.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Title: Charlotte and Lionel: A Rothschild Love Story”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Mock Eviction Notice shoved under the doors of students' rooms in predominantly Jewish NYU dorm by NYU SJP.
NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

More Articles from Aharon Ben Anshel
book-scattered-tribe

There are three kinds of travelers: there are tourists, there are businesspeople, and then there are historians like Ben G. Frank.

The last kind doesn’t simply go from here to there. They try to relive history and find the real meaning behind what they experience.

Behind “the news” there’s almost always a story that isn’t being reported, and certain kinds of phenomenon occur almost simultaneously all over the world in almost every era.

Whether this is a memoir or autobiography or whether this book was written as an article of regional diplomacy, King Abdullah does come across in this book as a quite sincere person making a valiant effort at regional diplomacy, who is trying to quell terrorism in the Mideast and raise the social and economic levels of his countrymen.

As any psychologist can tell you – no two people who see an event come away with the very same experience. Criminologists and detectives who question people who may have witnessed a crime experience the fact that several different people will report various versions of the event.

As any psychologist can tell you – no two people who see an event come away with the very same experience. Criminologists and detectives who question people who may have witnessed a crime experience the fact that several different people will report various versions of the event.

I’ve always been amazed at how historians pore over some old documents and books in some dusty basement storehouses, and yet are able to come up with a volume that’s readable and enlightening – and even entertaining. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t, but this is surely an exception.

When we first received Rabbi Weinstein’s new tome, following the great success of his first book, Up, Up and Oy Vey, we expected a collection of guf-faws and chortles.

I was once a member of a congregation during a time that the New York Times was affected by a strike.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/title-charlotte-and-lionel-a-rothschild-love-story/2003/08/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: