of the men confessed. 4
In his research among the Christian sources William Jordan
found this type of Jewish woman, who is involved in the economic life of
the community, comes and goes as she pleases, is self-possessed and
selfconfident. In northern France, Jewishwomen lent money at interest
to French women and to men as well. The economic activities of Jewishwomen in northern France and Germany
The Jewish society that lived amongst the Christian population in medieval Europe presents a puzzle and a challenge to any historian. This book presents a study on the relationship between men and women within the Jewish society that lived among the Christian population for a period of some 350 years. The study concentrates on Germany, northern France and England from the middle of the tenth century until the middle of the second half of the fourteenth century - by which time the Christian population has had enough of the Jewish communities living among them and expels them from almost all the places they were living in. The picture portrayed by Mishnaic and talmudic literature was that basically women lived under the authority of someone else (their fathers or husbands), therefore, their status was different from that of men. Four paradigms were the outcome of research blending questions raised within the spheres of gender research and feminist theory with the research methodology of social history. These were Rashi and the 'family paradigm'; the negative male paradigm; the Hasidic paradigm; and the community paradigm. The highest level of Jewish religious expression is the performance of the mitzvot - the divine Commandments. Women were not required to perform all the Commandments, yet their desire to perform and fully experience the mitzvot extended to almost all areas of halakhah. The book also describes how the sages attempted to dictate to women the manner of their observance of mitzvot set aside for women alone.
not be ignored; moreover, the tone of the response
makes it quite plain that, at that time and in this place, things had
Status within the family
The twelfth century witnessed
fundamental changes in the status of Jewishwomen as far as their
relationships with their husbands and within the family is concerned.
Two Rulings 27 gave rise to
The events of 1096 proved to be
traumatic for the Jewish communities of northern Europe, and it would
seem that many of the changes in the social, economic, and marital
status of Jewishwomen, that will be identified later on, have their
origins in the catastrophe that befell the Jews of the Rhine valley. It
is therefore important to look at the texts and the depictions of what
concerning Women’, Zion , 70 (2005), p. 172, and J.
Dishon, ‘Images of Women in Medieval Hebrew Literature’,
in Women of the World: JewishWomen and Jewish Writing , ed.
J. Baskin, Detroit 1994 , pp.
See Chapter 7 .
an extensive analysis of the social status of the women in this
population. The complexity of this question is amplified in the case of
medieval Jewish Ashkenazi society in view of the numerous references of
men to issues associated with women, and because of the challenge of
elucidating the status of women in the light of the complete absence of
any records left behind by Jewishwomen themselves in that era. 1 The Jewish
about an unsuitable halizah and generate a problematic
halakhic situation for the widow if she married again. Nevertheless, at
the end of the thirteenth century, even Maharam agreed that the most
damaging aspect of this problem was the behaviour of men who, because of
their greed for money, created situations in which Jewishwomen become
agunot . To Maharam this was an insufferable state of affairs
that describe the coping with those who converted to
Christianity during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In the sources
written by Jews we hardly find examples of women converting of their own
free will, although it would be logical to assume that there were women
who converted along with their husbands, and even though we know from
Christian sources that some Jewishwomen did convert. 4 The Jewish sources, however, rarely
Commandments that have set times which women are indeed obligated to
carry out and, on the other hand, women are not required to perform some
of the mitzvot that are not time-bound. 30
In performing mitzvot that are required to be done
at a specific time, the Jewishwomen of the Middle Ages were actually
following a tradition already mentioned in Mishnaic literature of two
women who performed time
Women Art Workers constitutes the first comprehensive history of the network of women who worked at the heart of the English Arts and Crafts movement from the 1870s to the 1930s. Challenging the long-standing assumption that the Arts and Crafts simply revolved around celebrated male designers like William Morris, this book instead offers a new social and cultural account of the movement, which simultaneously reveals the breadth of the imprint of women art workers upon the making of modern society. Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women – working in fields such as woodwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, and metalwork – navigated new authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures so often considered in isolation: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial, and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, and a wide range of unstudied advertisements, letters, manuals, photographs, and calling cards, Women Art Workers elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles: guild halls, exhibitions, homes, studios, workshops, and the cityscape. Shattering the traditional periodisation of the movement as ‘Victorian’, this research reveals that the early twentieth century was a critical juncture at which women art workers became ever more confident in promoting their own vision of the Arts and Crafts. Shaped by their precarious gendered positions, they opened up the movement to a wider range of social backgrounds and interests, and redirected the movement’s radical potential into contemporary women-centred causes.