Sacred Sororities: Devotion and Death in Early Modern Jewish Communities

Debra Kaplan, Elisheva Carlebach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


During the early modern period, pious confraternities and sororities evolved into formal associations with their own bylaws and record books. A trail of records from Amsterdam in the west to Moravia in the east enables us to examine the rich culture of women’s sororities, primary among them women’s burial societies. Sororities provided Jewish women with status and with formal roles in communal leadership. Early modern women publicly and jointly expressed their piety through their benevolent endeavors, developing new initiatives to further their activities. They actively managed the records and finances of these independent associations and volunteered their time and energy morning and night in what was often difficult labor. This article explores early modern women’s sororities as seen through a wide range of texts and discusses as well the cooperation and competition between men’s and women’s burial societies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)297-336
Number of pages40
JournalJewish History
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.


  • Burial societies
  • Confraternities
  • Jewish women
  • Piety
  • Prague
  • Record keeping
  • Ḥevrah Kaddisha


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