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Marriage

Rashi

Rashi (Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac, 1040–1105) is considered the greatest Jewish scholar of medieval times in Ashkenaz (Germany, France and England). It is doubtful whether we can find another Jewish scholar active at the time who was willing to make changes for the benefit of women’s rights even where halakhic and aggadic sources were not kindly disposed towards them. True, he sometimes accepted prejudicial opinions about women in the sources, but his relatively tolerant and considerate attitude towards women is worthy of note.

Rachel, Wife of Rabbi Akiva

Rachel (רחל) is the medieval name given to the wife of Rabbi Akiva in the late Avot de-Rabbi Nathan version A (chapter 6). In none of the older sources is a name attached to this woman, although she was well known.

Qumran

Any discussion of women in Qumran must needs open with the question of whether there were any. A significant trend in research claims that there were none.

Poverty: Jewish Women in Medieval Egypt

For lack of sources, it is normally almost impossible to say anything about women and poverty, especially as regards the Middle Ages. However, due to the fortunate preservation of the letters and other documents from everyday life discovered in the Cairo Genizah we are able to sketch a fairly detailed case-study of Jewish women and poverty in medieval Egypt, particularly in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries.

Post-Biblical and Rabbinic Women

In post-biblical Jewish antiquity women were not viewed as equal to men or as full Jews. In this, Jews were no different from their various Greco-Roman, Semitic or Egyptian neighbors. The difference lies in the explanation Jews gave to their views.

Poland: Interwar

Like every other historical analysis of interwar Polish Jewry, the story of Jewish women is a story interrupted tragically by the destruction of Polish Jewry in the Holocaust. Many of the trends discussed above had just begun to make their mark on the nature of that three million strong community. Nevertheless, they are still deserving of scholarly attention. Unless and until the missing fifty-two percent of Polish Jews are factored into the historical narrative, that story will remain incomplete.

Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Hai Ouziel

R. Ben-Zion Hai Ouziel wrote extensively on religious, communal and national subjects, as well as Jewish philosophy, his articles appearing in several newspapers and journals. His election as the Sephardic Chief Rabbi (the Rishon le-Zion) carried a concurrent appointment to the Va’ad Le’ummi (National Council of Jews of Palestine) and he participated in the sessions in which the Jewish Agency was founded.

Old Yishuv: Palestine at the End of the Ottoman Period

Both men and women came mainly to fulfill their wish to live in the Holy Land and to devote their lives to religious obligations. They have become known as the people of the Old Yishuv (settlers). From 1882 on, some of the newcomers arrived with new nationalistic ideals.

New Zealand: Modern (Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries)

Jews in New Zealand have always been a tiny minority, and while their actual numbers grew in the last years of the nineteenth century, particularly through migration from South Africa and the countries of the former Soviet bloc, their percentage in the total population steadily shrinks.

Nature of Women

The Talmud describes women as a “nation unto themselves” (BT Shabbat 62a) and rabbinic literature is replete with implications concerning the differences in the respective natures of men and women. Often the portrayals are paradoxical, citing opinions which describe seemingly opposite traits.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Marriage." (Viewed on October 31, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/marriage>.

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