Let Her Speak for Herself: Nineteenth-Century Women Writing on the Women of Genesis

By Marion Ann Taylor; Heather E. Weir | Go to book overview

§24 Grace Aguilar
(1816–1847)

Grace Aguilar, born in Hackney, Middlesex, a suburb of London, England, was the eldest of the three children of Emanuel and Sarah Aguilar. Emanuel Aguilar was the leader of a Spanish and Portuguese Jewish congregation in London. Grace Aguilar's gifts as a writer showed themselves at an early age in the family home where she received her education.

In 1828, due to Emanuel Aguilar's poor health, the family moved to Devon. There Grace Aguilar associated with Christians and attended services at the Methodist church. She wrote that worshipping with those of another faith broadened her. When her family returned to London, she ran a school for Jewish boys with her mother and continued her writing career. She died at the age of thirty-one in Germany. The Jewish communities in Britain and America deeply mourned the loss of this creative and brilliant female writer, theologian, and apologist. Aguilar's mother published many of her writings after her death.

Many of Aguilar's published works were written in support of Judaism and religious tolerance at a time when British Jews were under great pressure to convert to Christianity. In 1845, Aguilar published The Women of Israel, a

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