Sephardi Family Life in the Early Modern Diaspora

Overview

This collection of essays examines an important and under-studied topic in early modern Jewish social history”—the family life of Sephardi Jewish families in the Ottoman Empire as well as in communities in Western Europe. At the height of its power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Ottoman Empire spanned three continents, controlling much of southeastern Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. Thousands of Jewish families that had been expelled from Spain and Portugal at the end of the fifteenth ...
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Sephardi Family Life in the Early Modern Diaspora

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Overview

This collection of essays examines an important and under-studied topic in early modern Jewish social history”—the family life of Sephardi Jewish families in the Ottoman Empire as well as in communities in Western Europe. At the height of its power in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Ottoman Empire spanned three continents, controlling much of southeastern Europe, western Asia, and North Africa. Thousands of Jewish families that had been expelled from Spain and Portugal at the end of the fifteenth century created communities in these far-flung locations. Later emigrants from Iberia, who converted to Christianity at the time of the expulsion or before, created communities in Western European cities such as Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Livorno. Sephardi communities were very different from those of Ashkenazi Jews in the same period. The authors of these essays use the lens of domestic life to illuminate the diversity of the post-Inquisition Sephardi Jewish experience, enabling readers to enter into little-known and little-studied Jewish historical episodes.
Contributors include: Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld, Hannah Davidson, Cristina Galasso, David Graizbord, Ruth Lamdan, and Julia Lieberman
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The voices that come alive in Sephardi Family Life in the Early Modern Diaspora beat down the tiresome impulse to prove history relevant. Instead, the six excellent and painstakingly researched scholarly papers, edited by Julia R. Lieberman, prove their worth in a better way: They tell stories that reveal how besieged societies strain to hold on to their traditions and to civilized life.”—Forward

“Having escaped the Inquisition, many Sephardic Jews were by the beginning of the 16th century already scattered throughout a variety of locations in Asia, Africa, and Europe. And, as we know from more recent immigrations, it isn’t always easy for newcomers to get along with the local bigwigs who have their own established ideas about how to run things. The six academic essays collected by Julia Lieberman in Sephardi Family Life in the Early Modern Diaspora explore the day-to-day lives of these far-flung Jews as their practices and traditions clashed with those of the Jews who were their new neighbors in the Ottoman empire.”—Tablet Magazine

“[A]n invaluable resource for both students and experienced researchers studying early modern Jewry, the Sephardic diasporic experience, or Jewish family life.”—AJS Review

“[T]he articles in Sephardi Family Life are all fascinating, drawing on a range of source materials (Halakhic responsa, Inquisition records, communal archives) and disciplinary approaches. . . . The lives of ordinary people, especially women and children, emerge from these articles in flashes of clarity, allowing the reader glimpses of what is usually lost to historical memory.” ‘Sephardi Family Life in the Early Modern Diaspora moves our knowledge of early modern Jewish women and families forward by a significant step. . . . [It] contributes to a new image of the late medieval and early modern Sephardi world not only as religiously complex, but also as a fully lived, idiosyncratic, and deeply human culture.”—Jewish Book Word

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781584659167
  • Publisher: Brandeis University Press
  • Publication date: 12/14/2010
  • Series: HBI Series on Jewish Women
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

JULIA R. LIEBERMAN is professor of Spanish and International Studies, St. Louis University.
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Table of Contents

Foreword vii

Preface xi

Introduction: What is a Family? 1

I Reconstructing Sephardi Family Life in the Ottoman Empire: The Exiles of 1492

1 Communal Pride and Feminine Virtue: "Suspecting Sivlonot" in the Jewish Communities of the Ottoman Empire in the Early Sixteenth Century Hannah Davidson 23

2 Mothers and Children as Seen by Sixteenth-Century Rabbis in the Ottoman Empire Ruth Lamdan 70

II Western Sephardi Households: Women, Children, and Life-Cycle Events

3 Religious Space, Gender, and Power in the Sephardi Diaspora: The Return to Judaism of New Christian Men and Women in Livorno and Pisa Cristina Galasso 101

4 Childhood and Family among the Western Sephardim in the Seventeenth Century Julia R. Lieberman 129

5 Sephardi Women in Holland's Golden Age Tirtsah Levie Bernfeld 177

III Judeoconverso Families in the Diaspora: Cultural Commuting between Christianity and Judaism

6 Researching the Childhood of "New Jews" of the Western Sephardi Diaspora in Light of Recent Historiography David Graizbord 225

Glossary 247

List of Abbreviations 251

Bibliography 253

Contributors 275

Index 277

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