by C. Devora Hammer

Medieval Jewish Women Make Great Role Models

It is hard to imagine a book about medieval Jewish women being a bestseller, but in Israel this book was. In Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Medieval Europe by Avraham Grossman (Brandeis University Press, $29.95), there is no retelling of potboiling stories, or unearthing of scandal. Grossman is a cautious historian, refusing to make grand statements about his sources, or to speculate about events he cannot know. So what makes this book so compelling? Why did I find this dry history so difficult to put down? The answer, I think, is this: Grossman loves these ancient Jewish women, and indeed, there is much to love.

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