Summary This article focuses on a chapter in a manual on circumcision written in Worms in the thirteenth century by Jacob and Gershom haGozrim (the circumcisers). The third chapter of the manual contains medical instruction on how to attend to women in labour and other gynaecological conditions. Whereas the first two chapters of the manual were published in the late nineteenth century, the midwifery chapter has only been recently examined. This article is comprised of a translation of the midwifery text(s) along with an introduction to the text and the community practices it reflects. It outlines the cooperation between medical practitioners, male and female, Jewish and Christian, and discusses the medical remedies recommended and some practices current in thirteenth-century Germany.
In recent years, pre-modern beds have generated extensive scholarly interest. Their social, religious, and economic importance has been rightfully highlighted in the study of domestic piety. Yet, concern has primarily focused on beds in late medieval English homes. This essay uses Hebrew texts from thirteenth-century Southern Germany, primarily Sefer Hasidim, to further this analysis of the role of the bed in shaping medieval domestic devotion. Jewish notions about the social, moral, and sexual significance of the bed reflect those identified in late medieval Christian culture. These ideas inspired numerous rituals practiced in Jewish homes. Yet, the bed and the remnants of sex assumed to be found in it also frustrated Jewish attempts to perform domestic devotion. These findings highlight the complicated nature of the home and how medieval people had to navigate both its opportunities and challenges in order to foster a rich culture of domestic devotion.
Baumgarten, Elisheva. “Reflections of Everyday Jewish Life: Evidence from Medieval Cemeteries.” In Les vivants et les morts dans les sociétés médiévales: XLVIIIe Congrès de la SHMESP (Jérusalem, 2017), edited by Société des historiens médiévistes de, 95–104. Les vivants et les morts dans les sociétés médiévales: XLVIIIe Congrès de la SHMESP (Jérusalem, 2017). Éditions de la Sorbonne, 2018.
Baumgarten, Elisheva. “Annual Cycle and Life Cycle.” In The Cambridge History of Judaism, edited by Robert Chazan, 416–439. 1st ed. The Cambridge History of Judaism. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Baumgarten, Elisheva. “The Family.” In The Cambridge History of Judaism, edited by Robert Chazan, 440–462. 1st ed. The Cambridge History of Judaism. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Abstract The discovery of pawned objects in treasure troves attributed to Jews enables investigation of the use and understanding of these objects by Jews, especially regarding those of a more secular nature, i.e. objects that have little relationship to Jewish or Christian liturgy and that lack explicit Jewish or Christian religious iconography or inscriptions. One of these pawned objects is a girdle, which was found in a Jewish context in Erfurt. Through examining this girdle in the context of similar imagery in Jewish art, we see that Jews were not only exposed to such girdles but also were well aware of their symbolic meaning in noble love and romance .