Merecina of Gerona

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MERECINA OF GERONA , 15th century author of a Hebrew liturgical poem, rich in biblical allusions, that begins, "Blessed, Majestic, and Terrible," discovered by A.M. Habermann in the manuscript of a medieval Spanish maḥzor. She is described in the manuscript as "'a woman of virtue' – the lady Merecina, the Rabbiness from Gerona." Merecina's plea for divine redemption for the faithful of Israel is also an acrostic: the first word of each of the five verses starts with a letter of her name. Since the Jewish community of Gerona disappeared after the expulsion of 1492, the poem was evidently written before that date. Merecina is one of only two known female Hebrew poets in medieval Spain; her predecessor was the tenth-century wife of *Dunash ben Labrat.


A. Habermann, Iyyunim ba-Shirah u-va-Piyyut shel Yemei ha-Beinayim (1972), 265–67; Merecina of Gerona, "Blessed, Majestic and Terrible," in: S. Kaufman, G. Hasan-Rokem, and T. Hess (eds), The Defiant Muse: Hebrew Feminist Poems from Antiquity to the Present. A Bilingual Anthology (1999), 64–65; K. Hellerstein, "The Name in the Poem: Women Yiddish Poets," in: Shofar, 20:3 (2002), 34; Y. Levine, "Nashim Yehudiyot she-Ḥibru Tefillot le-Kelal YisraelIyyun Histori," in: Kenishta, 2 (2003), 91.

[Cheryl Tallan (2nd ed.)]

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Merecina of Gerona

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