Cover image for The women's Torah commentary : new insights from women rabbis on the 54 weekly Torah portions
The women's Torah commentary : new insights from women rabbis on the 54 weekly Torah portions
Goldstein, Elyse.
Publication Information:
Woodstock, Vt. : Jewish Lights Publishing, [2000]

Physical Description:
474 pages ; 23 cm
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BS1225.3 .G578 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Women rabbis are changing the face of Judaism. Discover how their interpretations of the Torah can enrich your perspective. "Rich and engaging...makes available to a wide readership the collective wisdom of women who have changed the face of Judaism." --Judith Plaskow, author, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective; Professor of Religious Studies, Manhattan College Here, for the first time, women's unique experiences and perspectives are applied to the entire Five Books of Moses, offering all of us the first comprehensive commentary by women. In this groundbreaking book, more than 50 women rabbis come together to offer us inspiring insights on the Torah, in a week-by-week format. Included are commentaries by the first women ever ordained in the Reform, Reconstructionist and Conservative movements, and by many other women across these denominations who serve in the rabbinate in a variety of ways. This rich resource offers new perspectives to inspire all of us to gain deeper meaning from the Torah and a heightened appreciation of Judaism. A major contribution to modern biblical commentary. The gift of choice for every young woman's bat mitzvah, and for anyone wanting a new, exciting view of Torah. Contributing Rabbis: Rebecca T. Alpert * Lia Bass * Miriam Carey Berkowitz * Elizabeth Bolton * Analia Bortz * Sharon Brous * Judith Gary Brown * Nina Beth Cardin * Diane Aronson Cohen * Sandra J. Cohen * Cynthia A. Culpeper * Lucy H.F. Dinner * Lisa A. Edwards * Amy Eilberg * Sue Levi Elwell * Rachel Esserman * Helaine Ettinger * Susan Fendrick * Lori Forman * Dayle A. Friedman * Elyse D. Frishman * Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer * Shoshana Gelfand * Laura Geller * Elyse M. Goldstein * Julie K. Gordon * Claire Magidovitch Green * Rosette Barron Haim * Jill Hammer * Karyn D. Kedar * Sarra Levine * Valerie Lieber * Ellen Lippmann * Sheryl Nosan * Stacy K. Offner * Sara Paasche-Orlow * Barbara Rosman Penzner * Hara E. Person * Audrey S. Pollack * Sally J. Priesand * Geela-Rayzel Raphael * Laura M. Rappaport * Debra Judith Robbins * Rochelle Robins * Gila Colman Ruskin * Sandy Eisenberg Sasso * Ilene Schneider * Rona Shapiro * Michal Shekel * Beth J. Singer * Sharon L. Sobel * Ruth H. Sohn * Julie Ringold Spitzer z"l * Shira Stern * Pamela Wax * Nancy Wechsler-Azen * Nancy H. Wiener * Elana Zaiman

Author Notes

Rabbi Elyse Goldstein is a teacher of Torah. She is the Director of Kolel, The Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

It was only in the early 1970s that the first woman was ordained a rabbi by the Reform branch of Judaism. Now women are making their mark on Torah commentary, bringing their own unique interpretations to the religion's most important writings. In this book, women rabbis write their own commentaries on the 54 Torah portions. As editor Goldstein admits in the introduction, some feminists feel that the Bible is hopelessly sexist and encourage women to disregard its teachings. Other women become "skilled apologists," fixing the blame on the reader not on the Bible itself. These rabbis try to understand the writings in a new way. Employing midrash, the traditional rabbinic use of parable and metaphor to extend the text, they explore the lives and motives of Biblical women, including Leah, Tamar, Dinah, Miriam, and others. With sometimes very little to work with, the rabbis "write ourselves in, reinterpret ourselves in, or critique our absence." Throughout, the ideas raised are worthy of discussion and the writing is uniformly high in quality. The women rabbis give new life to ancient sisters. --Ilene Cooper

Table of Contents

Rabbi Amy EilbergRabbi Lori FormanRabbi Julie Ringold SpitzerRabbi Michal ShekelRabbi Cynthia A. CulpeperRabbi Rona ShapiroRabbi Beth J. SingerRabbi Sandy Eisenberg SassoRabbi Lia BassRabbi Geela-Rayzel RaphaelRabbi Debra Judith RobbinsRabbi Shira SternRabbi Barbara Rosman PenznerRabbi Rebecca T. AlpertRabbi Karyn D. KedarRabbi Lucy H.F. DinnerRabbi Sue Levi ElwellRabbi Julie K. GordonRabbi Nancy Fuchs-KreimerRabbi Sharon L. SobelRabbi Sara Paasche-OrlowRabbi Ellen LippmannRabbi Nancy H. WienerRabbi Elana ZaimanRabbi Shoshana GelfandRabbi Claire Magidovitch GreenRabbi Ilene SchneiderRabbi Helaine EttingerRabbi Laura GellerRabbi Dayle A. FriedmanRabbi Rachel EssermanRabbi Valerie LieberRabbinical Students Sharon Brous and Jill HammerRabbi Elizabeth BoltonRabbi Sheryl NosanRabbi Sarra LevineRabbi Ruth H. SohnRabbi Lisa A. EdwardsRabbi Elyse D. FrishmanRabbi Audrey S. PollackRabbi Diane Aronson CohenRabbi Pamela WaxRabbi Stacy K. OffnerRabbi Hara E. PersonRabbi Analia BortzRabbi Rochelle RobinsRabbi Gila Colman RuskinRabbi Laura M. RappaportRabbi Susan FendrickRabbi Judith Gary BrownRabbi Nancy Wechsler-AzenRabbi Miriam Carey BerkowitzRabbi Rosette Barron HaimRabbi Nina Beth CardinRabbi Sandra J. CohenRabbi Sally J. Priesand
Index by Authorp. 13
Foreword: The Different Voice of Jewish Womenp. 15
Acknowledgmentsp. 23
Introductionp. 25
What You Need to Know to Use This Bookp. 36
Rabbinic Commentators and Midrashic Collections Noted in This Bookp. 41
Bereshit (1:1-6:8): The Untold Story of Evep. 47
Noach (6:9-11:32): Mrs. Noahp. 53
Lech Lecha (12:1-17:27): What's in a Name?p. 57
Vayera (18:1-22:24): Positive Pillarsp. 63
Chaye Sarah (23:1-25:18): Woman's Life, Woman's Truthp. 70
Toldot (25:19-28:9): Rebecca's Birth Storiesp. 75
Vayetze (28:10-32:3): Wrestling on the Other Side of the Riverp. 79
Vayishlach (32:4-36:43): No Means Nop. 85
Vayeshev (37:1-40:23): Power, Sex, and Deceptionp. 89
Miketz (41:1-44:17): In Search of Dreamersp. 99
Vayigash (44:18-47:27): Daddy's Girlp. 106
Vayechi (47:28-50:26): Serach Bat Asher--the Woman Who Enabled the Exodusp. 112
Shmot (1:1-6:1): Rediscovering Tziporahp. 121
Va-era (6:2-9:35): The Many Names of Godp. 127
Bo (10:1-13:16): Power and Liberationp. 133
Beshalach (13:17-17:16): Miriam's Song, Miriam's Silencep. 138
Yitro (18:1-20:26): We All Stood at Sinaip. 143
Mishpatim (21:1-24:18): What Must We Do?p. 148
Terumah (25:1-27:19): Community as Sacred Spacep. 154
Tetzaveh (27:20-30:10): Finding Our Home in the Temple and the Temple in Our Homesp. 160
Ki Tissa (30:11-34:35): The Women Didn't Build the Golden Calf--or Did They?p. 164
Vayakhel (35:1-38:20): Of Women and Mirrorsp. 172
Pekudei (38:21-40:38): The Birthing of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)p. 179
Vayikra (1:1-5:26): The Book of Relationshipp. 185
Tzav (6:1-8:36): Message and Messengerp. 191
Shemini (9:1-11:47): Kashrut, Food, and Womenp. 196
Tazria (12:1-13:59): Our Children/God's Childrenp. 202
Metzorah (14:1-15:33): Reclaiming the Torah of Our Livesp. 211
Acharei Mot (16:1-18:30): After a Death ... Then What?p. 218
Kedoshim (19:1-20:27): Who Shall Be Holy?p. 225
Emor (21:1-24:23): Elitism in the Levitical Priesthoodp. 231
Behar (25:1-26:2): Proclaiming Liberty throughout the Landp. 238
Bechukotai (26:3-27:34): Mir Zaynen Do--We Are Herep. 246
Bamidbar (1:1-4:20): Beyond Pidyon Ha-ben: Blessings for Giving Lifep. 255
Naso (4:21-7:89): Inscribing Jealousy on the Bodies of Womenp. 261
Beha'alotecha (8:1-12:16): The Silencing of Miriamp. 270
Shelach-Lecha (13:1-15:41): The Grasshoppers and the Giantsp. 279
Korach (16:1-18:32): Authority, Status, Powerp. 286
Chukkat (19:1-22:1): Blood and Water, Death and Lifep. 294
Balak (22:2-25:9): The End of Abusep. 301
Pinchas (25:10-30:1): Daughters and Inheritance Lawp. 307
Matot (30:2-32:42): Women Speak Louder Than Wordsp. 315
Masa'ei (33:1-36:13): Boundaries and Limitsp. 321
Devarim (1:1-3:22): Essence and Transcendencep. 331
Va'etchanan (3:23-7:11): "A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey": Sexualizing the Landp. 338
Ekev (7:12-11:25): Circumcision, Womb, and Spiritual Intimacyp. 345
Re'eh (11:26-16:17): A Time to Tear Down, a Time to Build Upp. 351
Shoftim (16:18-21:9): Principles for Feminist Approaches to Torahp. 358
Ki Tetzey (21:10-25:19): The Accused Womanp. 364
Ki Tavo (26:1-29:8): The Basket Ceremony of Gratitude and Hopep. 371
Nitzavim (29:9-30:20): Women and the Covenantp. 377
Vayelech (31:1-30): Guardians of the Traditionp. 384
Ha'azinu (32:1-52): Understanding the Angerp. 390
V'zot Habrachah (33:1-34:12): The Loss of Mosesp. 397
Epilogue: Looking Backward and Aheadp. 405
Notesp. 410
Glossaryp. 428
Bibliography and Suggested Further Readingp. 434
About the Contributorsp. 440
About Jewish Lightsp. 481