Jewish Women in Medieval Christendom

Marriage, money, and religious education.

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Since most ordinary Jewish women were cut off from the knowledge of Hebrew that would enable them to read the traditional liturgy and holy books, during the Middle Ages, a separate women’s vernacular literature of tekhines (supplicatory prayers specially directed towards women’s needs and concerns) began to be produced—sometimes by women—and simplified “women’s Bibles” to fill women’s spiritual needs were written. These volumes had great appeal for less-educated male members of the Jewish community as well.

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Judith Baskin

Judith Baskin is the Director of the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies and a Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Oregon.