«A Good Wife Is a Great Blessing». Female Portraits Through the Lugo Di Romagna Jewish Community’s Register of the Dead (1658-1825)
The Register of the dead of the Jewish community of Lugo di Romagna is a very important manuscript, unique of its kind. It contains all the death recordings of the community from 1658 to 1825, as well as the statutes and resolutions of the charitable association called Hevrat gemilut hasadim i.e. Good Works or Mercy Society. This precious and largely unpublished manuscript, which is now stored at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, presents an exceptional interest on different levels. For example, we can reconstruct various aspects of its members, also concerning women. Indeed, the undoubted merit of the Register is to provide a significant picture of the female universe within the ghetto of which, in a completely unexpected way, a rich and articulated profile emerges. The document provides an interesting description of the activities that women performed daily, which were often essential for household as well family economies, but there are also female figures playing an active role in trading, teaching, craftwork and ritual slaughter.