The Fruit of Her Hands, the Story of Shira of Ashkenaz

The Fruit of Her Hands, the Story of Shira of Ashkenaz

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
A rabbi's wife perseveres amid rising anti-Semitism in 13th century Europe.

Blackwell North Amer
Raised by her widowed rabbi father and a Christian nursemaid in Normandy, Shira is a free-spirited, inquisitive girl whose love of learning shocks the community. But in Meir ben Baruch, a brilliant scholar, she finds her soul mate and a window on the world of Talmudic scholarship that fascinates her.
Married to Meir in Paris, Shira blossoms as a wife and mother, savoring the intellectual and social challenges that come with being the wife of a prominent scholar. After every copy of the Talmud in Paris is confiscated and burned, Shira and her family seek refuge in Germany. Yet even there they experience bloody pogroms and intensifying hatred. As Shira weathers heartbreak and works to find a middle ground between two warring religions, she shows her children and grandchildren how to embrace the joys of life, both secular and religious.
A multigenerational novel that captures a hitherto little-known part of history with deep emotion and riveting authenticity - and includes an illuminating author's note and a Hebrew glossary - The Fruit of Her Hands is a powerful novel about the enduring spirit of the Jewish people.

Baker
& Taylor

A tale based on the life of the author's thirteenth-century ancestor finds Shira, the wife of a famous medieval Jewish rabbi and scholar, rescued from a wrongful imprisonment and blossoming under previously restricted intellectual challenges before seeking refuge from increasing anti-Semitic beliefs. A first novel.
Shira, the wife of a famous medieval Jewish rabbi and scholar, escapes a wrongful imprisonment and blossoms under previously restricted intellectual challenges before seeking refuge from an increasing anti-Semitic Paris.

Simon and Schuster

Based on the life of the author’s thirteenth-century ancestor, Meir ben Baruch of Rothenberg, a renowed Jewish scholar of medieval Europe, this is the richly dramatic fictional story of Rabbi Meir’s wife, Shira, a devout but rebellious woman who preserves her religious traditions as she and her family witness the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe.

Raised by her widowed rabbi father and a Christian nursemaid in Normandy, Shira is a free-spirited, inquisitive girl whose love of learning shocks the community. When Shira’s father is arrested by the local baron intent on enforcing the Catholic Church’s strictures against heresy, Shira fights for his release and encounters two men who will influence her life profoundly—an inspiring Catholic priest and Meir ben Baruch, a brilliant scholar. In Meir, Shira finds her soulmate.

Married to Meir in Paris, Shira blossoms as a wife and mother, savoring the intellectual and social challenges that come with being the wife of a prominent scholar. After witnessing the burning of every copy of the Talmud in Paris, Shira and her family seek refuge in Germany. Yet even there they experience bloody pogroms and intensifying anti-Semitism. With no safe place for Jews in Europe, they set out for Israel only to see Meir captured and imprisoned by Rudolph I of Hapsburg. As Shira weathers heartbreak and works to find a middle ground between two warring religions, she shows her children and grandchildren how to embrace the joys of life, both secular and religious.

Vividly bringing to life a period rarely covered in historical fiction, this multi-generational novel will appeal to readers who enjoy Maggie Anton’s Rashi’s Daughters, Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s The Illuminator, and Geraldine Brooks’s People of the Book.



Publisher: New York : Pocket Books, 2009
Edition: First Pocket Books hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781439118221
1439118221
Branch Call Number: FICTION CAMER...M

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