Thursday, September 20, 2007

Rashi's Daughters Book II: Miriam-Rashi's Daughters Book II: Miriam

Rashi's Daughters Book II: Miriam
Maggie Anton
Plume, Sep 2007, $15.00
ISBN: 9780452288638

In 1078 Troyes, France, Rabbi Salomon ben Isaac, cherished and highly regarded by the local Jewish community as Rabbi Rashi, lovingly teaches the Talmud to his three daughters although that defies centuries of the norm as only males are supposed to study it.. His courageous intelligent middle daughter, Miriam really appreciates learning what the ancient Jewish wise men had to say about life as a Jew. As she learns much about her religion, she is determined to break gender boundaries that men not the Talmud has placed on women. Grieving the death of her betrothed, Miriam wants to become the midwife and mohel to the Jewish community of Troyes. However, many people oppose a woman studying the sacred Talmud as that is a man’s job and a female performing circumcision on the newborn is as unacceptable too. While pushing the medieval envelop, Miriam has a new suitor as well Judah ben Nathan who has issues to hide too.

This is a fabulous biographical fiction based on the renowned medieval French Rabbi Rashi and his middle daughter Miriam. The tale brings to life how the eleventh century Jews lived in France, especially the educated rabbinical social class. As with the first book that focused on Rashi’s oldest daughter Joeheved, RASHI'S DAUGHTERS-BOOK II: MIRIAM entertains the audience but also provides a profound spotlight on an enlightened Jewish teacher and his middle daughter. The saga continues with the youngest offspring Sotah to follow.

Harriet Klausner

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