Books

The Meneket Rivkah A Manual of Wisdom and Piety for Jewish Women

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  • Rivkah bat Meir (author)
  • Frauke von Rohden (editor)
  • Samuel Spinner (translator)
  • Maurice Tszorf (translator)
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About the Book

Translated from Yiddish into English by Samuel Spinner.

Introduction and commentary by Frauke von Rohden, which was translated from German into English by Maurice Tszorf.

The first-known Yiddish book to be written by a woman, Meneket Rivkah (Rivkah’s Nurse) reveals a great deal about 16th-century Jewish women’s lives and religious practices. It includes Rivkah bat Meir’s sermons, her interpretations of the Bible, and other religious instructions on various topics to guide women in their familial relationships.

First published posthumously in Prague, in 1609, Meneket Rivkah pre-dates the work of Glueckel of Hamelin and makes a new contribution to the fields of Yiddish literature and Jewish women’s literature. Von Rohden’s critical introduction and commentary serve to place the work within biblical and rabbinical literature, and within other Yiddish ethical works of Rivkah bat Meir’s time. This is the first book to include the original Yiddish text in English translation, as well as the original Yiddish manuscript of Rivkah bat Meir’s unpublished Simhes Toyre Lid. The book also includes the original Yiddish text of Meneket Rivkah.

Awards

A 2009 National Jewish Book Award Finalist, Women’s Studies

Rivkah bat Meir

Rivkah bat Meir is one of the few early women writers whose works in Yiddish have survived the centuries. She preached to many women in her community and was highly educated.

Frauke von Rohden

Frauke von Rohden is a research associate in the Academy Project “Encyclopedia of Jewish History and Culture” at the Simon Dubnow Institute for Jewish History and Culture at the University of Leipzig. Dr. von Rohden studied in Berlin and Jerusalem and received her MA and PhD in Jewish Studies.

Samuel Spinner

Maurice Tszorf