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Heretics or Daughters of Israel?The Crypto-Jewish Women of Castile$
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Renée Levine Melammed

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195151671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151671.001.0001

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The Lives of Judaizing Women after 1492

The Lives of Judaizing Women after 1492

(p.31) 2 The Lives of Judaizing Women after 1492
Heretics or Daughters of Israel?

Renée Levine Melammed

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the life of the remaining converso community after the Jewish expulsion from the kingdom. The conversos no longer had the benefit of the living example of their forefathers' Judaism, in addition to losing their sole source of certain supplies, be they food, wine, or books. Crypto-Judaism could not be the same as normative Judaism. The demise of Jewish institutional life in 1492 left the male Jew without the framework upon which he had functioned. Without the synagogue, the house of study, and the communal organizations, he was destined to be at a loss. By contrast, the women had never been dependent upon a center outside of the home, nor were they overly dependent upon books, and when all the other institutions disappeared, they did not have to undergo a major transition. Thus, whereas, the men lost their center of their Jewish life, the women continued, albeit under extenuating circumstances.

Keywords:   converso, Judaism, Crypto-Judaism, normative Judaism

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