Can sexuality be taken out of the yeshiva? A few months ago we learned how Asenath Barazani, a woman and a decisor of Jewish law, became the head of a yeshiva in 17th-century Mosul, Kurdistan. Dr. Renée Levine Melammed, Professor of Jewish History, continues Asenath’s story sharing information about two amulets that imbued this mysterious leader with Kabbalistic powers. Watch the video below:
Renée Levine Melammed, originally from Long Island, New York, received her degrees from Smith College and Brandeis University. Her dissertation and early research dealt with the lives of crypto-Jewish women in Spain and the way in which conversos coped with the issue of their identity; her research now is focusing on women’s lives as reflected in the Cairo Geniza. She is a professor of Jewish history at Schechter, teaching courses in medieval Jewish history and gender studies as well as in Jews of Spain and Islamic lands.