30 Sep The JPS Guide to Jewish Women 600 B.C.E ‒ 1900 C.E.
The Women of My Tribe
A scholar or student who acquired this book as a reference resource will immediately know they acquired a treasure. This book is not simply a guide as the title suggests. Thorough documentation, clear analysis, and a structure that allows easy navigation makes it an encyclopedia of 2,500 years of the history of the women of my tribe.
The “Overview” explains the sources of information. It also outlines the social, economic and cultural context that influenced the Jewish communities at the particular time and place.
“Biographies” introduces both famous and ordinary Jewish women whose lives reflected that specific historical background.
“The World of Jewish Women” covers all aspects of women’s lives. Their professional interests, education, family life, legal rights, and participation in civic and religious activities. It addresses domestic violence, stereotyping, unfair laws and customs.
The book contains rare photographs and boxed text that illustrates history with down-to-earth details. The alphabetical list of women in the beginning and the index at the end make it easy to locate information.
My Amazing Cousins
In 13 B.C., Theodote, a Jewish woman in Egypt, entered into a contract with a non-Jewish family as a wet nurse and in medieval Europe “many Jewish women doctors treated men and women, Christians and Jews.”
One, Floreta Ca Noga, treated the Queen of Aragon (Spain). Another, Sara de Sancto Aegidio, taught medicine to a disciple. These women were usually daughters or wives of physicians and, for modesty reasons, they chose to became eye doctors.
No one expects a reference resource to be an exciting read but this resource is. It is hard to put down and I return to it time and time again. Every time I try to put myself into the shoes of these women, my distant cousins who were instrumental in shaping my life.