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Joheved (Rashi’s Daughters #1)
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(Rashi’s Daughters #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  3,557 ratings  ·  304 reviews
Rashi, one of the greatest Jewish scholars who ever lived, had no sons, only three daughters. Much has been written about Rashi and his grandsons, the Tosafot, but almost nothing of his daughters. Legend has it that they were learned in a time when women were forbidden to study the sacred texts. Rashi's Daughters tells the story of these forgotten women. ...more
Paperback, 369 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Banot Press
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  3,557 ratings  ·  304 reviews

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Jan 26, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: jewish-folklore

I wanted to like this book, I really did.

Anton seeks to bring to life a place, time and people who have been overlooked. She obviously did a lot of research, and boy does it show! The book is crammed full of information on things like 11th century agriculture, French politics, and Jewish law, and tries to faithfully render to the most minute detail (moss used for toilet paper! how to prune grape vines! a demon for every cough and bad thought! ) what it would have been like to grow up the daught
I read this whole series multiple times before joining GoodReads. Added for posterity.
This is as much a book about medieval Jewish scholarship as it is about Rashi's family; his family members seem to circle the Talmud, supporting characters to its central theme(s).

This is not to say that it wasn't incredibly fascinating to read regardless! I learned so much about Ashkenazi Jewry as well as general life in France during the High Middle Ages. Some of the rituals and tradtions presented I actually remembered from reading a more contemporary story (The Ritual Bath) - it's amazing th
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is my second reading of this book - and it looks like my first review, written over a decade ago, is lost. One thing I could say about reading this book ten years ago, maybe 15 or so, is that I got so swept up in it, that I quickly read the entire series, and went on from Rashi's three daughters to Rav Hisda's daughter, and read both that one, and the Enchantress, although when I picked it up, I had no idea that it was a sequel. The Enchantress remains one of my all time favorite books. And ...more
Maayan K
Feb 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
I really liked the idea of this book. Unfortunately, it's deplorably excecuted and the narrative totaly fails.

For starters, each character has an identical personality - the same one as the ploddingly matter-of-fact narrator. Each incosequential conflict is promptly resolved with predicatble regularity. As for an actual plot to draw the story forward, there is none. The prose is brittle and earnest - it's just, eugh, awkward to read this. The only parts that actually work narratively are the se
Ann G. Daniels
This book about the eldest daughter of the great Talmudic sage Rashi had such great reviews, I expected more. It was enjoyable and had interesting, even fascinating, information on medieval Jewish life; but it was, I thought, clumsily written. And what was with the sex scenes? I mean, I like a good reasonably explicit sex scene as much as the next person, and I'm sure that medieval Jewish folks liked their sex, but those scenes felt really out of place, as though they were dropped in just for th ...more
From a historical perspective, this book (as well as Anton's second book in this series) is fascinating. Anton has obviously done a great deal of research, and she has focused on making the world of medieval French Judaism come to life. However, there are two aspects that I want to focus on that detract significantly from this book, which had so much potential. One aspect is Anton's exposition, which is often very heavy-handed. I would have loved to have gotten lost in the world that Anton descr ...more
Rachel Pollock
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I haven't been a reader of traditional romance novels since I was in high school, and a certain percentage of this book is in fact that. It conforms to a lot of your expected tropes of that genre.

I am, however, a reader these days of Jewish cultural history, and this book is also that. Specifically, it concerns the lives of women in France a thousand years ago, and the circumstances surrounding what it was like to be an educated daughter of a scholar at that time.

I found it fascinating and wel
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-copy, signed
This book was an amazing read. I learned so much, which is what I love about good historical fiction. There were so many times in this book that I thought to myself, so that's why we do that (in terms of Jewish traditions). I did find myself wondering as I was reading if a non-Jewish reader would have difficulty understanding it. The author is a female Talmud scholar herself, which I find so impressive, and it lends credence to the series. I can't wait to read the next book. In fact, I think I m ...more
Lewis Weinstein
Sep 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
A very sensitive story of a far from ordinary Jewish father and daughter. For those who want to understand why Jews study Talmud, this is a great place to begin.
Doris Jean
I enjoyed this novel very much. The setting is before the printing press, about the time champagne was invented in France. Rashi was born there in 1040 and his family made wine. The author researched deeply about Judaism and about the era and about the history and she has authored a wonderful book. This period was the Dark Ages and superstition was rampant. The author has enriched the book with those practices. Illnesses were treated with superstition/prayers/placebos and herbal medicine/amulets ...more
May 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Round up to 3.5 stars.
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
This was an odd book. The author clearly has researched the family and the era very well, but the end result isn't really a novel. There was no narrative arc – just lots of info about daily life (some things, like the making of parchment, appeared to be thrown in simply because the author had learned about it). Joheved didn’t seem like a real person (nor did Rashi, nor anyone else) and her motivation to study Torah like the men was never made clear – and the repercussions of her doing so seemed ...more
Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Didn't like this one as much as I thought I would. I thought the style of writing was kind of annoying. I can't quite put my finger on it. I'll probably read the rest of the series though. It was entertaining enough. Interesting to learn about Jewish traditions as well.

Okay so an update. I finished this one and I just don't think I'll read the other's in the series.

The summary of the plot on the back of the book makes you think it is going to be all about how Joheved is going to fight for her ri
May 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd say 3.5
I enjoyed the book but there was a bit too much graphic Talmudic sex. Also, I was constantly noticing the religious practices that are different from today's and wondering if they really were different in those days or if the author just isn't aware of normative Orthodox practice. For instance, mixed dancing at a wedding, men sitting around chatting with each other while waiting for their wives at the mikva and later discussing who was there, women attending weekday Shacharit services
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish
I absolutely loved this book. So much so that I could not put it down and went straight into reading the next in the series. I will certainly read all 3. I have prior knowledge of orthodox Judaism and Torah/Talmud that made it easier for me to understand the lingo (however there is a glossary). The author does a fantastic job of developing the characters, so much so that I felt I could actually see them and understand their feelings. I greatly look forward to the next book, I am already several ...more
Jul 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, jewish
Usually I'm not a huge historical fiction person. I often find my my purist tendencies get in the way of my enjoyment of historical fiction. Rashi's Daughters came highly recommended to me by a close friend from my synagogue. It shared a lot of similarities, at least in voice, to Anita Diamant's "The Red Tent". It had engaging relationships between the characters and even though it's from Joheved's perspective, for the most part, others in the story are well rounded.

One thing I feel that engagi
Wtf!?!? Jews like to drink? This book was sure an interesting surprise to me that way. Hmmmm I grew up with an alcoholic father but imagine growing up with a Jewish wine-making father in medieval France. That's Rashi's daughters for you. The central theme here seems to be education for women...

It was touchy subject at the time with many interpretations of what was appropriate and what was not. In the beginning of the book Joheved is already fluent in Hebrew and is able to read, study, and trans
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
I enjoyed this novel much more than I expected to. Historical fiction often bogs down in the middle as the author tries to cram in a lot of the background research and it often shows. In this case, I had been afraid Anton would get involved in the powerstruggle in mideval France and leave me behind, but fortunately it didn't happen. Instead, we are given an insider's view into the creation of a small yeshiva, and the impact on a family of daughters whose father decides it's all right to teach th ...more
Nov 07, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, judaica, rishonim
I don't read a lot of fiction books because they often fail to cast their spell on me. There are some books that are just impossible to read, and others that are pleasant reading but I can almost tell you exactly why the author did everything they did. This falls into the latter category. This book is more or less a formula copy of the Red Tent sent in a less heroic, darker, and more obscure era of Jewish history.

Diamant at least cast her spell. I felt like I knew Dinah. A quick check of the pr
Jul 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Set in Medieval France in the 1000s, this book is a fiction love story about Rashi's eldest daughter, who the author calls Joheved. Salomen ben Isaac, known as Rashi, is the most famous Jewish commentator of the Bible and Talmud. I usually find romance novels rather dull because they tend to all tell the same story, but this book successfully combines wonderful historical fiction about Rashi and the Jewish religion in France in the middle ages and the lifestyle of the people along with the roman ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jewish history and traditions have always fascinated me; so this book was right up my alley. It is about Salomon Ben Isaac, now known as Rashi. He lived about 1068 in France. He was a scholar who left his studies to take over the family winemaking business. Rashi was the first scholar to write a commentary on the Talmud, and is the recognized authority on the Talmud. During the period when he lived the Jews and Christians were at peace, each community living mostly to themselves except for some ...more
Sara G
I read this book for the A Book A Day Keeps the Boredom at Bay challenge. 27– Is the perfect cube (3 X 3 X 3). Read a book from 3 different trilogies - yes, that means 3 books - Or read a book about a mathematic riddle or code, books like The Da Vinci Code or The Eight are a good example for this one. (2/3)

I enjoyed this book very much, although I really don't think there was much of a plot to it. Basically, it describes a Jewish family in 11th century France - daily life, jobs, schools, superst
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Both of these books (Rashi's Daughters, Book I & Book II) are entertaining and thought provoking. Throughout both books are many quotations from the Torah and various comments on the quotations, including Rashi's. I found this helpful as I have often wondered about the source of those studied today. Another aspect of these books that I enjoyed was the explanation of many of the superstitions that we find in our current cultures. Although I had to stop sometimes to figure out which parts of the n ...more
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
By far, it is one of the best historical novels I've read in a long time. Actually, it is the kind of story that I started in the morning and finished a couple of hours later in the night, due to the author's fascinating art of writing. As a reader, you are part not only of the life story of the oldest Rashi's daughter, Joheved, but also of the Medieval Jewish France and of the daily life of Rashi himself. The merit of the story is that you can go far beyond the circumstances of the reality and ...more
Nov 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book. I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to run right out and find the next two books in the series, but I'll probably pick them up sometime. It's set in 11th century France, in a Jewish community. I liked how much I learned about the Jewish culture/faith. I certainly know more about Jewish marital intimacy than I did a few days ago! It's discussed rather a lot, but most of it is not explicit. Very interesting. ...more
Erin Currie
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. Compelling characters and a story that was familiar yet exotic. I enjoyed learning while reading (hurray for historical fiction!) about Judaism, everyday medieval life, and the role of Jews in medieval society.
I enjoyed that the heroine was a strong, independent female that found ways to be herself in a society and time where she had a prescribed life.
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A book which somehow drifts from the bodice-ripping of historical romance to lofty excursions into the minutiae of Talmudic scholarship and back again with a great deal skill and grace. The characters are engaging and the world of medieval French Jewry that is revealed through the progress of their lives is fascinating and clearly well researched. An only slightly guilty pleasure.
Nov 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First volume of a family saga trilogy -- story is well written. The thoroughly researched details about daily life in France during the Middle Ages and Torah/Talmud are fascinating. I wish I knew some of this detail about women's role in/rights to Jewish learning some time ago. ...more
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Maggie Anton was born Margaret Antonofsky in Los Angeles, California. Raised in a secular, socialist household, she reached adulthood with little knowledge of her Jewish religion. All that changed when David Parkhurst, who was to become her husband, entered her life, and they both discovered Judaism as adults. That was the start of a lifetime of Jewish education, synagogue involvement, and ritual ...more

Other books in the series

Rashi’s Daughters (4 books)
  • Miriam (Rashi’s Daughters #2)
  • Rachel (Rashi’s Daughters #3)
  • Rashi's Daughters

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