Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe - download pdf or read online

By Elisheva Baumgarten

ISBN-10: 0691130299

ISBN-13: 9780691130293

This e-book provides a man-made historical past of the family--the most elementary development block of medieval Jewish communities--in Germany and northerly France throughout the excessive heart a while. focusing on the certain roles of moms and kids, it additionally advances contemporary efforts to jot down a comparative Jewish-Christian social history.

Elisheva Baumgarten attracts on a wealthy trove of basic resources to provide a whole portrait of medieval Jewish family members lifestyles throughout the interval of early life from delivery to the start of formal schooling at age seven. Illustrating the significance of realizing Jewish perform within the context of Christian society and spotting the shared foundations in either societies, Baumgarten's exam of Jewish and Christian practices and attitudes is explicitly comparative. Her research is additionally wideranging, masking approximately each element of domestic existence and childrearing, together with being pregnant, midwifery, start and initiation rituals, nursing, sterility, infanticide, remarriage, attitudes towards moms and dads, gender hierarchies, divorce, widowhood, early schooling, and where of kids in the house, synagogue, and community.

A richly specified and deeply researched contribution to our realizing of the connection among Jews and their non-Jewish acquaintances, Mothers and Children offers a key research of the background of Jewish households in medieval Ashkenaz.

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Additional info for Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe

Example text

For the first three days, one should pray to God that the infant won’t decompose; from three to forty days he should pray that it will be a male; from forty days to three months, he should pray that it not be a sandal;1 and from three months to six months, he should pray that it not be stillborn; and from six to nine months he should pray that the baby will be born safely. And can a man bring the baby out safely? No, rather the Holy One, blessed be He creates for the infant doors and hinges and brings him out safely.

Even those nineteenth-century scholars who pointed to the many similarities between Jewish and Christian practices proclaimed the superiority of Jews over their neighbors. For example, Israel Abrahams noted: “In most of these particulars, I can hardly think that the life of the Jewish child differed from that of his gentile brother. ”70 The study of childhood is but one component of the transformation the study of Jewish history has undergone over the past two decades. Social history and, more specifically, gender studies have now become a central area of study.

A medieval commentary on the Kalir’s piyut for Rosh haShanah “Even h·ug maz·ok neshiya” explains the line: “Ke’akeret bayit bateh·al nukra” (As a housewife at the beginning she was alienated), explaining: At the beginning she was alienated from giving birth, from being a housewife; “Rachel was barren”—she was alienated. 8 A number of issues are expressed here. The commentator is playing with the multiple etymologies of the verb akar: akara (barren) and akeret bayit (housewife), and the word ikar (the center or main part).

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Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe by Elisheva Baumgarten


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