Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity

Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity

Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity

Tales of the Neighborhood: Jewish Narrative Dialogues in Late Antiquity

Synopsis

"Hasan-Rokem brings exciting new life to the rabbinic texts. She skillfully turns tales into windows where we can see the cultural world in which the narrators of the midrashic world lived. This stimulating work is sure to make rabbinic literature more accesible and relevant to a wider audience."--Charlotte Fonrobert, author of "Menstrual Purity: Rabbinic and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gender

"A meaningful contribution to feminist scholarship and studies of women in Jewish society of the Late Antiquities. Hasan-Rokem has succeeded in shifting our attention to women's narratives of Talmudic-Midrashic literature and the significance vested in them."--Dan Ben-Amos, Chair of the Graduate Program in Folklore and Folklife at University of Pennsylvania

Excerpt

One of my earliest childhood memories takes place in the courtyard of an old wooden townhouse in the city of Turku in southwestern Finland. It is a bright day; the women, including my mother, my nanny, our cook, and the neighbor woman, sit in the sun. At the other end of the courtyard there is a blacksmith's workshop where horses are shod. This is the spring of 1947. One or two of the women—my mother is probably not one of them— are engaged in some domestic work, possibly peeling potatoes. They are also involved in a pleasant talk, bridging the social and ethnic differences with ease—my mother is the only Jewish woman in this group. The neighbor's son, Jukka, drives proudly around in a model car operated by pedals. I want to take turns on the car, but Jukka refuses to release the hold over his most precious toy. I grow extremely impatient, and finally I clutch a considerable amount of his wheat-blond hair and pull it really hard. Jukka screams and instantly pays back with the same gesture.

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