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Rabbi Mat Tonti and Julie Tonti Create Graphic Novel About Historic German Jewish Woman from the 17th Century

September 8, 2022 by Elizabeth Zitelli (Faculty and Staff)

Glikl of Hamlyn is an unlikely Instagrammer. This 17th century Jewish businesswoman and mother to 14, living in Hamburg, Germany kept careful diaries that vividly describe life over 400 years ago. In these diaries, Rabbi Mat Tonti and his wife Julie have found words of wisdom for modern readers and are working to translate her text into graphic novel form. “Her diary is very relatable in that even though 400 years have passed, we have similar concerns and issues,” Julie told The Jerusalem Post in their September 3 article about the Tontis’ travels and upcoming book. Glikl’s stories about surviving antisemitism and a massive pandemic are clearly relatable, but “kids today need sound bytes. They are more visual,” Julie explains. As they develop the book, the Tontis invite interested readers to follow Glikl on Instagram. Students will recognize Rabbi Mat Tonti as MILTON’s music teacher for grades 2-9. “Glikl of Hamlyn” follows on the heels of Mat Tonti’s successful “The Book of Secrets” which featured Jewish mystical stories.

Photo caption:

  1. Julie and Mat Tonti traveling to Germany to research Glikl.
  2. Bertha Pappenheim, a descendant of Glickl Hamel, poses as Glikl for this portrait painted by the artist Leopold Pilichowski.
  3. A panel from the forthcoming graphic novel “Glikl of Hamlyn” by Julie and Mat Tonti.