"This carefully researched work provides a glimpse into the little-known medieval Jewish world in which Rashi lived and worked." -- Naomi Ragen, Dec 2004
Anton turns sketchy knowledge of Solomon ben Isaac (Rashi) and his family into an absorbing historical novel. -- Jewish Times News, August 18, 2005
Much like The Red Tent, it delves into rituals of women who were forgotten by history and marginalized by society. -- Library Journal, July 12, 2005
Recreates a medieval French community faithful to little-known details of Jewish ritual, including marital relations, childbirth, life-cycle events and holidays. -- The Jewish Press, Jan 11, 2006
Takes the torch from Anita Diamant, while using more research to explain the phenomenon that is Rashi and his daughters. -- The J of Northern California, August 25, 2005
The way Anton's extensive research and imagination combine to retrieve the lives of Jewish women is realistic and captivating. -- Dvora Weisberg, Nov 2004
Blending passages of Talmudic argument with imagined human dramas of the medieval scholar's household, it entertains and educates. -- Judith R. Baskin, Dec 2004
From the Author
"Rashi's Daughters" is the story of the three daughters of the great Talmudic authority Salomon ben Isaac, a.k.a. Rashi, who lived in 11th century Troyes, France and had no sons. At a time when most women were illiterate and the rare educated woman was one who could read the Bible, Rashi's daughters studied Talmud. They were also vintners, merchants and mothers of the next generation of Talmudic scholars.
Built on seven years of exhaustive historical research and ten years of Talmud study, "Rashi's Daughters" explores what might have been, weaving actual events, as described in responsa literature and Talmud commentaries, into an account of the lives of these amazing women. Talmud is an integral part of these novels; readers will learn along with Rashi's daughters as he explains selected texts. This is also the story of the medieval French Jewish community, how they lived, loved, worked, ate, prayed and interacted with their non-Jewish neighbors. A wealth of material about Jewish women's daily lives is provided, including how they observed life cycle events and holidays.
I wrote this book because I wanted to share my research into Jewish women's lives in medieval France, how the prosperity and tolerance they enjoyed differed from the negative stereotypes usually associated with the Middle Ages. In addition, I wished to encourage women to study Talmud, the foundation of Jewish Law that, until very recently, women have been unable to access. I hoped to share the excitement and pleasure Talmud study can engender.