Howard Tzvi Adelman

Howard Adelman’s work on early modern Italian Jewish history includes Woman and Jewish Marriage Negotiations in Early Modern Italy: For Money and Love (Routledge, 2018) and a forthcoming biography of the seventeenth century Venetian rabbi, Leon Modena

Articles by this author

Sarra Copia Sullam

The best-known and least typical Jewish woman of early-modern Italy, Sarra Copia Sullam engaged publicly with leading intellectuals and produced poetry, letters, and polemics, particularly about the belief in immortality of the soul. The context of her literary activity was the academies (accademia) of Venice, including one that she held in her own house, which attracted a stream of distinguished visitors from the city states of northern Italy who discussed philosophy, theology, art, and literature and who engaged in domestic intrigue.

Early Modern Italy

A study of the role of Jewish women in household formation, the household, and household dissolution, as well as their engagement in Jewish culture in early modern Italy, raises the question of how much of Jewish practice reflected the context of the surrounding society and how much engaged options in traditional Jewish practices, which were selected to meet their own needs. Despite the wealth of information about some well- known women and reports of the activities of many unnamed women, Jewish women, like Christian women, still functioned in the context of women and the period does not represent a Renaissance for women.

Devorà Ascarelli

Until recently all that was known about Devorà Ascarelli was available in a 1601 collection of mainly Italian translations of Hebrew liturgy for the Day of Atonement, Me’on Ha-Sho’alim. Now it is known that she was born Devorà Corcos to a prominent Roman Jewish family, most of whom, including many of her children, would convert, by force or voluntarily, to Catholicism. New information reveals that in Me’on Ha-Sho’alim, she transliterated the Italian translations of another author into Roman letters that could be read by more Jews.

Benvenida Abravanel

Benvenida Abravanel, both born into and married within the important Abravanel family of Spain and Portugal, was one of the most influential, wealthiest, and charitable Jewish women of early modern Italy. After fleeing the Iberian peninsula, her family settled in Naples, stayed in Venice, and then resettled in Ferrara. Her family life, however, was wracked by strife, including the presence of her husband Samuel’s illegitimate son in the family and a struggle within the family over her husband’s assets after he died.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Howard Tzvi Adelman." (Viewed on May 23, 2024) <>.