Unsung Women | The wife of Dunash ibn Labrat: An enigmatic Sephardi poet

The anonymous wife of Dunash ibn Labrat.

Editor’s note: For Women’s History Month, the Forward presents “Unsung Women,” a special project showcasing Jewish women — from biblical times to our modern moment — whose stories have rarely been told.

Who she was: the wife of Dunash ben Labrat

When and where: 10th-century Spain

What we know: Not a lot — not even her name. She was the wife of Dunash ben Labret, a poet and commentator who worked during the height of Jewish culture in Spain. And she’s the known author of at least one short poem, discovered in the Cairo Genizah (a trove of Jewish North African medieval manuscripts) in 1947. In the poem, she describes her anxiety and resolve she feels as her husband prepares to leave Spain on a long journey.

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