My Dear Daugh­ter: Rab­bi Ben­jamin Slonik and the Edu­ca­tion of Jew­ish Women in Six­teenth-Cen­tu­ry Poland

Edward Fram
  • Review
By – March 2, 2012

How did sim­ple Jews of pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions know what the rab­bis expect­ed of them? Some things they could learn from their par­ents. But what of the details? And what about top­ics that par­ents felt uncom­fort­able dis­cussing with their children? 

In the 16th cen­tu­ry, Rab­bi Ben­jamin Slonik wrote a book explain­ing the three women’s com­mand­ments” — light­ing the Sab­bath can­dles, sep­a­rat­ing chal­lah from dough before bak­ing, and the laws of men­stru­al puri­ty. He wrote his book in Yid­dish, because few women of the time knew how to read Hebrew. Edward Fram has trans­lat­ed that book, The Order of Women’s Com­mand­ments,’ into Eng­lish. His intro­duc­tion inves­ti­gates women’s edu­ca­tion and rit­u­al pro­fi­cien­cy, Yid­dish pub­lish­ing and the ear­ly his­to­ry of Pol­ish Jew­ry, light­ing up every aspect of this work with mean­ing. Appen­dices, bib­li­og­ra­phy, index.

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