Dr. Edward Fram's work, My Dear Daughter: Rabbi Benjamin Slonik and the Education of Jewish Women in Sixteenth-Century Poland, published by HUC Press, investigates rabbinic law, religious and sexual lives of women, and Yiddish printing and public education.
Jewish life in late sixteenth-century Poland was characterized by the observance of rabbinic law (halakhah), rituals, and customs. While social pressures were potent forces in persuading people to maintain a pious lifestyle, one area of religious observance that was generally removed from social controls was the sexual life of married couples. How did sixteenth-century women learn all the rules and regulations of such an intimate subject? Often these particularly difficult issues could only be addressed by rabbis or other learned men, for women rarely attained the level of rabbinic scholarship necessary to study the details of halakhah.
To educate women, Rabbi Benjamin Slonik harnessed the relatively new technology of printing and published a "how to" book in the Yiddish vernacular,Seder mitzvoth ha-nashim (The Order of Women's Commandments). In his work, Dr. Fram discusses these religious issues and Rabbi Slonik's text. His study is accompanied by a transcription of the 1585 edition of the Seder mitzvoth ha-nashim with facing-page English language translation.
Edward Fram is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Jewish History at Ben-Gurion University in Israel. He has written on the history of Jewish law and Hebrew publishing in early modern Eastern Europe. My Dear Daughter: Rabbi Benjamin Slonik and the Education of Jewish Women in Sixteenth-Century Poland is available from Wayne State University Press, 1-800-978-7323.
The Hebrew Union College Press, now in its 85th year, has from its inception devoted its resources and efforts to the publication of works of the highest caliber for a discerning international academic readership. HUC Press is a member of Association of Jewish Book Publishers. Wayne State University Press is the distributor for HUC Press.