Education and Trades of Jewish Women in Pre-1492 Spain Compared With Education and Trades of Jewish Women in Ashkenaz
The position of women in the societies of pre-1492 Spain and Ashkenaz has been recognized as differing significantly from that of the woman in traditional Jewish society. Both the societies had great opportunities for women in education and trade. A number of authors have agreed that women in pre-1492 Spain and Ashkenaz played important role for the promotion of education. According to them, women of these societies also played an unusual role in the perpetuation and preservation of observances associated with Judaism. For example, Grossma (2004) provided a broad general idea of the social status of Jewish women in the Muslim and Christian-dominated areas in the Middle Ages. The author has also discussed in detail the role of women in education and trade in the transitional environment of pre-1492 Spain.
"In Ashkenaz and Spain, certain financial arrangement was fixed regarding marriage and the rights of divorced or widowed women to inherit the family property. These arrangements were extremely comprehensive, clearly affecting the woman's status, and one can see a clear development therein." (Grossma 149)
Moving from an assessment of the common particulars of the medieval Jewish penitential systems to a consideration of their respective historical evolutions, one can hardly avoid noticing importance of Jewish women's role in education and trade. On the whole, this parallel evolution takes the form of a tendency toward spiritualization manifest in the increasing valuation of internal attitudes over external acts. In Jewish culture, there is an obvious devaluation of expiatory acts and a growing emphasis upon contrition, the attitudinal component of penitence. Baumgarten (2004) in his work pointed out some differences in the trends of education for Jewish women in Spain and Ashkenaz. He gave...