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Families, Rabbis and EducationEssays on Traditional Jewish Society in Eastern Europe$
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Shaul Stampfer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9781874774853

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781874774853.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 20 May 2022

Was the Traditional East European Jewish Family in the Recent Past Patriarchal?

Was the Traditional East European Jewish Family in the Recent Past Patriarchal?

(p.121) Six Was the Traditional East European Jewish Family in the Recent Past Patriarchal?
Families, Rabbis and Education

Shaul Stampfer

Liverpool University Press

This chapter assesses whether the traditional Jewish family in eastern Europe in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was patriarchal. In traditional east European Jewish families, authority over children was not monopolized by fathers; mothers also had a great deal of authority over minor children. Fathers often spent more hours a day out of the house than did mothers, and often they had to work far from their homes. As such, mothers usually determined what went on at home, and even when this was in accordance with their husbands' wishes, it does not imply that it was under their husbands' authority. Perhaps the greatest potential for paternal authority can be found in the marital patterns of their children. Meanwhile, in the area of relations between the male head of the family and his wife in traditional east European Jewish families, male authority could not be taken for granted and male heads of families could not simply force wives to do their bidding. The chapter then defines patriarchy, arguing that the dynamics of the traditional Jewish families in eastern Europe complicate the utility of the term.

Keywords:   traditional Jewish families, east European Jewish families, patriarchy, paternal authority, marital patterns, male authority

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