Mrs Dunash ben Labrat דוֹנָש הלוי בֵּן לָבְרָט‎ (deceased)

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Managed by: Ilana Burgess
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About Mrs Dunash ben Labrat דוֹנָש הלוי בֵּן לָבְרָט‎

‘Mrs Dunash’ is the only female Jewish poet to have been identified between the biblical prophetess Deborah and the late middle ages. In her poem she tells of the lovers’ exchange of a ring, wristband, mantle and veil as tokens of loyalty, and asks, in a dignified tone, whether the gift of half the realm would prevail on him to stay in Spain. In 1896-97 Solomon Schechter, Reader in Talmudic and Rabbinic literature in Cambridge, travelled to Cairo to investigate the Genizah of the Ben Ezra Synagogue in Old Cairo. There he found the fragment in the above photo. In 1984 Ezra Fleischer, Professor of Hebrew Literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, working on a project to identify and catalogue the poetic fragments, announced the discovery of an unknown poet: the wife of Dunash ibn Labrat.