Voices of the Matriarchs: Listening to the Prayers of Early Modern Jewish Women

ISBN 10: 0807036161 / ISBN 13: 9780807036167
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Synopsis: Most studies of Judaism focus on sources produced by and for learned men - the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, legal codes, and works of medieval philosophy, mysticism, and Hasidism. All these texts were written in Hebrew - a language seventeenth- through nineteenth-century Jewish women were not given the opportunity to learn. With Voices of the Matriarchs, Chava Weissler restores balance to our knowledge of Judaism by providing the first look at non-Hebrew Jewish source materials: the vernacular women's devotional prayers called tkhines. In Weissler's hands, these Yiddish prayers open a window into early modern Ashkenazic women's lives, beliefs, devotion, and relationships with God. In the last section of Voices of the Matriarchs Weissler looks at the changes the twentieth century wrought in the practice of writing and reciting tkhines.

About the Author: Chava Weissler is professor of religion studies at Lehigh University, where she holds the Philip and Muriel Berman Chair of Jewish Civilization.

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