Grace Aguilar
Women in Judaism ~ Women in Judaism - Author

Grace Aguilar

Poetess, author, educator and Jewish emancipator, Aguilar was a forthright and inspired thinker and writer in Victorian England who did much to further the cause of Jewish women through her writing and public engagement. Born in the east-end of London to Portuguese immigrant parents, Aguilar suffered debilitating illnesses in her early life which dogged her until her early death in 1847. A religious polymath, a fact that is reflected in her writings, she appealed to a wide audience and her books were quickly translated into a number of European languages and Hebrew. Her most celebrated Jewish work, Spirit of Judaism, focused on the importance of the Shema –the central prayer of the Jewish prayerbook. In it She called for a vernacular translation of the Bible and changes in Jewish childhood education offering a new vision of the spiritual needs of women in general and Jewish women in particular. By far her most popular book was Home Influence, a novel which sold out over 30 editions. In all Aguilar published 12 books and through them and her wider work, is remembered as one of the significant figures of the Anglo-Jewish enlightenment.

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