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Family

Hagar: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis present Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian handmaiden, as an Egyptian princess whom Pharaoh king of Egypt gave to Sarah as a gift. She grew up in the home of Abraham and Sarah, and converted. Sarah initially had to persuade Hagar to marry Abraham (to compensate for her own barrenness), but Hagar quickly became accustomed to her new status, taking advantage of it in order to vex Sarah and disparage her in the eyes of others. The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:357]midrash[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] tells that Abraham grew close to Hagar and ceased viewing her as a handmaiden. He heeded his wife as regards Hagar, but he also took care not to harm the latter. Sarah, in contrast, treated her handmaiden harshly and abused her in various ways, causing her to flee to the wilderness. Hagar is depicted by the Rabbis as being strongly influenced by the atmosphere in the house of Abraham and Sarah. She became accustomed to seeing angels and therefore was not alarmed when an angel of the Lord was revealed to her at Beer-lahai-roi. The spiritual level of Sarah’s handmaiden was higher than that of people from later generations (see below, the comparison with Manoah).

Turkey: Ottoman and Post Ottoman

In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, far-reaching changes took place in the Ottoman Empire in the political, social and geopolitical spheres.

Suburbanization in the United States

Few Jews participated in the first wave of suburbanization during the final decades of the nineteenth century. Today, suburbs are the popular residential choice of most Americans. Despite their increasing diversity, they still lack the population density, poverty, and public culture of urban centers.

Rothschild Women

Strangely enough, the Rothschild women enjoyed greater ease than their menfolk. All but a few enjoyed the position they were assigned and obviously took great pride in a Jewish family’s rise to fame and fortune.

Poland: Early Modern (1500-1795)

With the gender role definition for Jewish women in Poland being subtly and haltingly stretched and broadened as this period progressed, it does seem appropriate to call it the early modern period.

Orpah: Midrash and Aggadah

Orpah is one of the secondary characters of the Book of Ruth, which tells the reader only that she was Naomi’s second daughter-in-law. Like her sister-in-law Ruth, she initially wanted to accompany Naomi and return with her to her land; but, unlike Ruth, she finally accepted her mother-in-law’s arguments and went back to Moab. The Rabbinic expansion of this narrative, which relates both to Orpah’s actions and to her descendants, paints her in a generally unfavorable light.

Mizrahi Feminism in Israel

The phrase “Mizrahi feminism” has been increasingly used to refer to the academic discipline and literature, as well as the practices, which seek to extend the liberal Israeli feminist discourse into a multicultural context—specifically, to include women originating in Arab/Muslim countries.

Modern Jewish Family in the United States

In some respects, little has changed since Esther Jane Ruskay took pen in hand over a century ago to celebrate the virtues of the Jewish family and to champion the intimate connection that exists between domesticity and Jewishness. Although attenuated, that intimate connection endures: flickering to life at a Passover seder or a bat mitzvah, Jewishness continues to rest in the family.

Herodian Women

The Herodian dynasty produced a large number of seemingly impressive women. However, it is not always clear whether these women were really impressive or whether their literary portrayal made them so. We know that Nicolaus of Damascus, who was Herod’s court historian, was deeply interested in domestic affairs and assigned to women a diabolical role in the turn of events. Even after his writings ceased, other court historians adopted some of his rhetorical techniques. We today know almost everything about these women from Josephus, who used Nicolaus and other sources in his writings.

Halakhic Decisions on Family Matters in Medieval Jewish Society

The [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:414]takkanah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] (regulation enacted by [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:317]halakhic[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] scholars supplementing the Talmudic [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:317]halakhah[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary]) was, in practical terms, a legislative tool of major importance in organizing Jewish communities in medieval times. The Jewish communities of the time felt they were subordinate to Talmudic law, which they saw as sacred and binding. But when urgent needs arose which put the Jewish community under pressure, the sages’ preferred manner of coping with them was the takkanah, which the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:416]Talmud[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] refers to as a legislative tool.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Family." (Viewed on January 20, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/family>.

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