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Romney-Wegner Lecture with Professor Elisheva Baumgarten

Sunday, December 10, 2017 • 22 Kislev 5778

10:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Romney-Wegner Lecture


Yours, Mine, or Ours:
Understanding Women's Authority over
Married Property

with Professor Elisheva Baumgarten


This talk examines the ability of married women to make financial decisions concerning money given to charity and business dealings in medieval Europe. It will discuss the ways medieval rabbis found to allow women greater freedom in business and the ways this freedom was taken away from the women at a later date, while leaving options for women’s charitable donation. It follows sources from the Talmud through the sixteenth century and ends with a surprising new reading of the Bible.


Prof. Elisheva Baumgarten holds the Prof. Yitzhak Becker Chair for Jewish Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She teaches in in the Department of Jewish History and the Department of History. Before moving to HUJI in 2013 she taught at Bar Ilan University where she was one of the founders of the Gender Studies Program and the Director of the Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Jewish Women (2006-2011). She is a social historian who specializes in the history of the Jews in medieval Germany and Northern France. She has published articles that discuss medieval life cycle rituals, women in Jewish culture, Jewish-Christian relations as well as children and their education. Her first book Mothers and Children. Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe was published by Princeton University Press in 2004 and was published in 2005 in Hebrew (אמהות וילדים. חיי משפחה באשכנז בימי הביניים) by Merkaz Zalman Shazar. The English book was awarded the Koret Foundation prize for the best book in Jewish History in 2005 and was a runner up in the category of women’s studies for the National Jewish Book Award. It was also awarded the Jordan Schnitzer book award in Gender Studies by the Association for Jewish Studies (2008).

Her latest book Practicing Piety in Medieval Ashkenaz (University of Pennsylvania Press 2014) was shortlisted for the National Jewish Book Award in 2015. She has published a number of edited volumes, most recently Elisheva Baumgarten and Judah D. Galinsky (eds.), Jews and Christians in Thirteenth Century France (Palgrave, 2015) and Elisheva Baumgarten, Ruth Mazo Karras Katelyn Mesler, Entangled Histories: Knowledge, Authority and Jewish Culture in the Thirteenth Century (University of Pennsylvania press, 2017) as well as dozens of articles. Baumgarten has held fellowships from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture, the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies as well as EHESS in Paris.  She is the recipient of the 2016 Michael Bruno Memorial Award.  

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