Rashi's Daughters - Book II: Miriam

by Maggie Anton

Book, 2007



Call number




New York, N.Y. : Plume, c2007-c2009.


Dedicated to her career as a midwife in the eleventh-century Troyes, France, Jewish community, Miriam finds herself sorely tested and forced to rely on her faith to pursue her chosen path.

User reviews

LibraryThing member debs4jc
Part of a series, though I hadn't read the first book and followed it well enough. This book focused on Miriam, the 2nd of Rabbi Rashi's daughters, who loses her first love to an accident and then faces the difficult question of if and who she will marry. As a woman educated in the Torah she is
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unusual in Medieval France. Lots of customs about Judaism, the time period, midwifery and such are shared which is combined well with a human story. I found myself reflecting on the story when I wasn't reading it, thinking about the unusual challenges Miriam faced in her day and age and wondering how I would have measured up to what she had to go through.
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LibraryThing member nyj12
This bok gives you a good idea of what life in medieval France was like for a Jewish woman. Her father, Rashi, has been documented very well from a historical perspective as his commentary on Torah and Talmud are widely published. In this book the author tries to give the view of what it was like
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to be his daughter, well versed in both Torah and Talmud (at that time teaching Talmud to women was considered taboo). Miriam deals with the challenges of midwifery, becoming a moile, and marrying someone who was not her true love. Its well written.
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LibraryThing member maggieanton
Rashi, living in Troyes, France, in the latter half of the 11th century, was one of Judaism’s greatest scholars. Troyes at the time had a vibrant Jewish community, full of scholars, but also traders, vintners, and estate owners. Anton’s books (the first focused on the elder daughter, Joheved)
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immerse us in this rich culture, with a focus on Rashi’s three very learned daughters. There was debate at the time about whether girls should be taught Torah, and Rashi was not following the norm in teaching his daughters. Miriam, the central character of this volume, has trained to become a midwife, like her aunt. She also has the opportunity to train as a mohel, the person (almost always a man) who performs circumcisions, because no male in the community steps forward when one is needed. The text is liberally studded with writings from the Talmud, as characters learn and debate various teachings.
The text is also laden with knowledge and beliefs of the time, both general and religious. Miriam’s immersion into the medical world, both as midwife and mohel-in-training, allows the author opportunities to include the current understanding of medical matters, such as the characteristics of foods that should, or shouldn’t, be eaten given certain illnesses or medical conditions. Miriam’s husband is a Talmud scholar, and a theme throughout this volume is the relationships that form between study partners. These books (best read in order) provide a fascinating glimpse into another world.
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LibraryThing member fglass
A picture of Talmud study in the middle ages under Rashi. A beautiful detailed picture of the lives that circled around Rashi - the great Talmud scholar.
LibraryThing member shazjhb
Prefered the first book but it is a wonderful window into a man and a life in middle age France.
LibraryThing member JanicsEblen
This series continues to be a well written and great to read group. I have learned so much about life in general and Jewish life in particular in the 11th Century with the reading of the Rashi's Daughters series.
LibraryThing member JanaRose1
The second book in the series, this story focuses on Miriam, Rashi's middle child. When Miriam's fiancée dies in a tragic accident, she is thrust into depression and despair. Not even her training as a midwife can bring her out of her funk. Only time and distance seems to help. After marrying
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Judah, the two struggle with a variety of issues. Judah struggles with homosexual urges, while Miriam decides to learn the art of circumcision, causing great debate within her community.

Overall, I thought this book was well written. It wasn't as engaging as the first book, which I found a bit surprising. I wish the book focused more on her being a midwife and mohl, which would have caught my interest a bit more. I think I just wanted a little more from the story, everything seemed a bit too easy for Miriam.
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