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Rebekah Gumpert Hyneman

In her poems, essays, and short stories, Rebekah Gumpert Hyneman urged her fellow Jews to resist assimilation and understand the power and beauty of their tradition. Hyneman grew up in a sheltered, middle-class environment, but after her husband’s disappearance on a business trip, she struggled to raise their two sons alone. She regularly returned to the theme of characters who refuse the comfortable life that assimilation might bring and who are then rewarded for their steadfast faith. From 1846–1950 she published a series of poems, “Female Scriptural Characters,” which highlighted the feminine virtues of Esther, Ruth, Deborah, and the Matriarchs, among others. Her work appeared in a variety of periodicals, from the Occident and the Jewish Advocate to the Masonic Keystone and Mirror, her brother-in-law’s journal. In 1853 she published a collection, The Leper and Other Poems. Her writing praised a model of femininity that she herself, an independent woman working to support her children, could not follow, but despite this deep contradiction, her work was popular with both Jews and gentiles.

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Date of Birth
September 8, 1812
Place of Birth
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of Death
September 10, 1875
Occupations

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rebekah Gumpert Hyneman." (Viewed on December 11, 2017) <https://jwa.org/people/hyneman-rebekah>.

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