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Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 11, 2021

Esther und ihre Töchter. Geschlechterrollen und Wirtschaftstätigkeit jüdischer Frauen in der Vormoderne

Esther and Her Daughters. Gender Roles and Economic Activity of Jewish Women in the Pre-Modern Era
Christian Porzelt
From the journal Aschkenas


This essay examines the commercial activities of Jewish women in the Franconian town of Kronach, a district seat in the northern part of the Prince-Bishopric of Bamberg, in the early modern period. It focuses on the widow Esther (c. 1645–1727), a contemporary of the famous merchant woman Glikl bas Judah Leib in Altona. Esther’s business activities, which are documented for a period of more than four decades, included the sale of household goods and textiles as well as the marketing of agrarian products. In addition, she was involved in credit transactions and pawnbroking. Numerous contacts with town dwellers and country people demonstrate her involvement in Christian economic and credit networks. As the biographies of Esther’s daughters Ella and Jüdla show, married women also played central roles within households and working communities. They not only supported their husbands, but continued to run their businesses in their absence and engaged in trade on their own accounts.

Published Online: 2021-11-11
Published in Print: 2021-11-08

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