The Status of 16th Century Jewish Women in the Ottoman Empire According to Seder Nashim and Shulḥan Hapanim in Ladino

Ora (Rodrigue) Schwarzwald


The introductions of two Ladino books from the sixteenth century, Seder Nashim – a prayer book for women, and Shulan Hapanim – an edited Ladino translation of Shulan Arukh, show that Sephardic Jewish women were mostly illiterate and had very little knowledge of Hebrew or of Jewish law. They were also under the patronages of their fathers or husbands and stayed mainly at home. This situation mirrors their previous status in Spain and was common to other Jewish communities.

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