Women, Laws and What Lies in Between // Closed exhibition


Two young women stand next to each other, holding hands and looking directly at the camera. They are dressed in tight and long dresses with long sleeves and their hairstyle is made of a side parting and wavy hair that reaches up to the neck.
Jewish women in traditional dress, Baghdad, 1935-1915, Photo: Photo Eldorado

Curator: Orly Baher Levy

For centuries, men composed manuals designed to guide women and maidens about how to conduct themselves in daily life. Based on those works, men defined codes of conduct that evolved over time into norms of proper behavior that women and maidens were expected to observe. The exhibition opens with photographs of title pages of books written especially for women, devoted to various milestones in a Jewish women's life in Iraq, from childhood to old age. The photographs on display date back to the first half of the 20th century. They are accompanied by quotes from Rabbi Yosef Hayyim's The Law of Women (Qanun Al-Nisa), written in Baghdad in 1906, as well as illustrations and quotes by the 17th century Dutch humanist and poet, Jacob Cats, which appear in his book Marriage (Houwelick).