Glikl and her Sisters: The Creative Lives of 17th-Century Jewish Women

This online course ran from March 8–29, 2022. If you are interested in the materials for this course, please email Jennifer Young.

At the end of the 1600s, businesswoman Glikl bas Yehude Leyb began writing what is considered to be the first autobiography of a Jewish woman. Over the next 28 years Glikl’s writing would describe, in minute detail, her work, her travels, her family, and the politics of the era. This document has become a unique point of access for readers interested in Jewish experience, life in the early modern period, and especially women’s perspectives.

Women played a unique and important role in early modern European Jewish life, as businesswomen, wise women and halakhic authorities, and as composers of Yiddish-language prayers and liturgy. This online course will explore the context and work of Glikl and a number of her contemporaries, such as Rivke bas Me’ir, first female author of a Yiddish book, and the midwives, widows, and daughters who collected books, wrote prayers, and contributed creativity and knowledge to the early modern Jewish world. 

Combining short lectures by renowned faculty, including Elisheva Carlebach, Chava Weissler, Joshua Teplitsky, and Jordan Katz, with lively small-group discussions of a variety of texts, the course will give students a rare glimpse into the creative lives of Jewish women, and of the ways that gender roles, Jewish law, and Christian society combined to both constrict and create opportunities for women’s quests for knowledge and expression.

Held on Zoom, the class will meet on four consecutive Tuesdays:

March 8, March 15, March 22, and March 29, 2022
7pm–8:15pm Eastern Time

Classes will be held in Zoom meeting format, including short talks with scholars, a Q&A, and small-group discussions.

Short readings will be distributed, but are not mandatory. Students are encouraged to read along with Glikl: Memoirs, 1691-1719 (Brandeis University Press, 2019) throughout the course.

Cost: $75 for Yiddish Book Center and JWA members, $100 for non-members.

 

This workshop is co-sponsored by the Jewish Women’s Archive and is presented as part of the Yiddish Book Center’s 2022 Decade of Discovery theme: Women in Yiddish. 

Recordings of all four classes are now available to registered participants. 

 

Glikl: Memoirs, 1691-1719 can be purchased at our online store.