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Renee Levine Melammed

Renée Levine Melammed is a full professor of Jewish History at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem where she heads the women’s studies program. Her first book, Heretics or Daughters of Israel: The Crypto-Jewish Women of Castile (1999) received two National Jewish Book Awards. Her second book is A Question of Identity: Iberian Conversos in Historical Perspective (2004) and her third book, An Ode to Salonika: The Ladino verses of Bouena Sarfatty was published by the University of Indiana Press in 2013.

Articles by this author

Spain

Written histories of the Jews in Spain have rarely included women. When dealing with Jewish women in Spain, the available sources range from poems, letters, and rabbinic literature to Latinate wills, court records and Inquisition documents.

Bouena Sarfatty Garfinkle

Bouena (Tova) Sarfatty Garfinkle is remembered as a master of needlepoint and a feisty survivor-partisan-heroine of the decimated but once vibrant Salonikan Jewry.

Conversas

The forced conversions of the Jews in Spain that occurred in 1391 changed the face of Spanish Jewry as well as of Spanish history. The random attacks on Jewish communities throughout the country resulted in destruction of property, loss of life and general havoc. Whereas there had previously been Jews and Catholics, now there were Jews, Catholics and converts or conversos. Some of the converts continued to live a Jewish life to the best of their abilities, despite the fact that they now had to attend church and abide by its dogma. Others opted to live as Christians in the hope that new opportunities would await them. Yet others wavered between the two religious lifestyles or opted to follow neither. During the first half of the fifteenth century, the original group of conversos was joined by disillusioned Jews who chose to convert and others who were persuaded to do so in the wake of the rigged Disputation of Tortosa (1413–1414). In the long run, the converso population changed tremendously after nearly a third of the total remaining Jewish population chose to convert in 1492 rather than to face exile. In other words, by the end of the fifteenth century the converso community included descendants of the original forced converts of 1391, descendants of voluntary converts, Jews who chose to remain in Spain as Catholics and even some exiles who returned home within seven years of the fateful decree.

Asnat Barazani

Asnat Barazani was the daughter of the eminent Rabbi Shmuel b. Netanel Ha-Levi of Kurdistan (1560?–1625/1635?). Her father, a scholar and mystic with a large following, aimed to rectify the plight of his brethren, namely, the dearth of educated leaders. He built a yeshiva in Mosul where he hoped to train young men who would become community leaders and scholars. Since he had no sons, he trained his daughter to be a learned scholar of the highest order.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Renee Levine Melammed." (Viewed on September 22, 2019) <https://qa.jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/melammed-renee>.

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