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Sephardi Family Life in the Early Modern Diaspora

Julia R. Lieberman

Publication Year: 2010

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

Published by: Brandeis University Press

Title Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword

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pp. vii-x

This fascinating collection of essays illuminates the diversity of the post- Inquisition Sephardi Jewish experience through the lens of domestic life. Julia R. Lieberman and a team of international scholars explore both daily and dramatic aspects of Jewishness within diverse types...

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Preface

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pp. xi-xxii

This book is a collection of essays dealing with Sephardi Jewish family life in the early modern period. It includes studies dealing with Sephardi communities formed after the expulsion from Spain in 1492, when Spanish Jewry was forced to disperse in numerous

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Introduction: What Is a Family?

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pp. 1-20

When we talk today about “the family,” we mean something very different than the concept that existed in the medieval and early modern periods. The Latin term familia, which was adopted in many European languages to designate a set of parents and their children...

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

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1. Communal Pride and Feminine Virtue

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pp. 23-69

The expulsion of the Jews from the Iberian Peninsula resulted in the abrupt transplantation of a strong and vibrant cultural community. The generation of the expulsion grew to maturity in Spain, nurtured in a vital and thriving culture as members of an intact community on...

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2. Mothers and Children as Seen by Sixteenth-Century Rabbis in the Ottoman Empire

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pp. 70-98

Following the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, many Jewish communities settled in the eastern Mediterranean Basin, within the far-reaching boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. During the course of the sixteenth century, Jews of diverse ethnic origins made their way to this...

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

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3. Religious Space, Gender, and Power in the Sephardi Diaspora

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pp. 101-128

In this essay I will present some results in the form of suggestions and hypotheses from a larger study on “New Christian” men and women who arrived in Livorno and Pisa in the seventeenth century and returned to Judaism. The privileges granted by the Livornine induced descendents of conversos to...

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4. Childhood and Family among the Western Sephardim in the Seventeenth Century

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pp. 129-176

This chapter focuses on family life in three Western Sephardi communities —Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Livorno—with an emphasis on children. These merchant communities, populated by former New Christians originally from Spain and Portugal, were founded at the turn of the seventeenth century. I will begin this essay by exploring...

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5. Sephardi Women in Holland’s Golden Age

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pp. 177-222

It was not easy to approach the Sephardi women of Holland’s Golden Age. As he toured Amsterdam, an English traveler was greatly surprised that Sephardi men kept their wives restrained, essentially as prisoners....

Part III: Judeoconverso Families in the Diaspora: Cultural communting Between Christianity and Judaism

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6. Researching the Childhood of “New Jews” of the Western Sephardi Diaspora in Light of Recent Historiography

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pp. 225-246

Recent decades have seen historians’ fascination with cultural anthropology yield fruitful approaches to the history of identity-formation. Within the subfi elds of medieval and early modern Jewish History, scholars have produced important studies of childhood and family life in Ashkenazi and Italo- Jewish communities. For their...

Glossary

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pp. 247-250

Abbreviations

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pp. 251-252

Bibliography

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pp. 253-274

Contributors

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pp. 275-276

Index

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pp. 277-279


E-ISBN-13: 9781584659433
E-ISBN-10: 1584659432
Print-ISBN-13: 9781584659167

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: HBI Series on Jewish Women

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Jews -- Turkey -- History -- 16th century.
  • Sephardim -- Turkey -- History -- 16th century.
  • Jewish converts from Christianity -- Italy -- History -- 17th century.
  • Jewish women -- History -- 16th century.
  • Jewish women -- History -- 17th century.
  • Sephardim -- Europe, Western -- Social conditions.
  • Jewish children -- Europe, Western -- Social conditions.
  • Families -- Europe, Western.
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