The biblical narratives show the importance of women in the history of the Jewish people. Those narratives also underscore women's roles in the practice of faith and the carrying on of tradition. In the home, women shouldered considerable religious responsibility, especially toward their children. In addition, women were expected to obey the Laws given to Moses, and to conduct themselves properly, care for their families in the Jewish tradition, and follow the dietary laws. Although women were restricted from studying the Torah, they were experts in the area of meal preparation and kosher rules.
Although ancient Hebrew society was a male-dominated society, with birthright given to the oldest male heir, a person's Jewishness was (and still is) determined by whether or not that person was born of a Jewish mother.
Women encouraged their men to study and keep Jewish religious law. The old Testament mentions seven women as seers, or prophetesses, and also mentions that women had a role in the work of building the Tabernacle. Women, such as Huldah in the sixth century B.C., contributed to the understanding of what was authentic Law. After Huldah's lifetime, Judaism continued to evolve, but there was renewed emphasis upon Torah study and daily synagogue worship. Despite the restrictive society they lived in, many women of the Bible left an imprint upon their world and, through the biblical narratives, their lives continue to have relevance.