Women's Siddur from Salonica, c. 1550
That is maybe why this siddur for women, Seder Nashim, is the first printed translation of prayers into Ladino, and one of the oldest printed works in this language.
It is the first printed translation of prayers into Ladino, and one of the oldest printed works in this language. It appeared in Salonica (Thessaloniki) as early as 1565, and its opening page contains what is likely the firs printed appearance of the word, “Ladino.” The siddur includes prayers and instructions for prayer for the whole year, brief summaries of the laws traditionally associated with women, and a translation of the Passover Haggadah.
Ladino, also called Judeo-Spanish or Judesmo, was a vernacular language that originated in Spain and developed primarily in the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey among descendants of Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. Translating an entire siddur into the vernacular was revolutionary in the sixteenth century, reflecting the popularization of printed books and the assumption of a female audience who were less comfortable with Hebrew. Although it is difficult to reach firm conclusions regarding the actual knowledge or practice of Jewish women based on this prayer book, Seder Nashim nonetheless exemplifies a sociocultural context in which it was expected, or at least hoped, that women would pray regularly and fulfill specific Jewish traditions.