Cover image for White fire : a portrait of women spiritual leaders in America
White fire : a portrait of women spiritual leaders in America
Drucker, Malka.
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Publication Information:
Woodstock, Vt. : SkyLight Paths Pub., [2003]

Physical Description:
xviii, 274 pages, 1 unnumbered page : illustrations ; 26 cm
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BL72 .D78 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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They struggled to clear a new path for women;
these are the stories of modern spiritual pioneers.

"I imagine this book as a dinner party where women have eagerly gathered for a conversation about being a woman, a person of faith, and a leader. While some know each other, many do not, but it doesn't matter. Listening to them in ensemble reveals that all their differences are less important than how much they share as women of faith. Since community and interconnection tend to be feminine traits, sisterhood is important, and I hope that upon finishing the book, the reader may feel that she or he has found a teacher that offers a new way to see women and the Divine."

--from the Introduction

There is an ancient mystical legend that the Bible was written with black fire on white fire. Now, we can only read the black fire (the letters), but someday we might be able to see the white fire. Today, with their voices and their presence growing ever stronger, women spiritual leaders in America are like white fire, and we can see the previously untapped power of female leadership.

This remarkable book gives voice and image to the too often invisible, ignored, or overlooked narrative of women's spiritual leadership in America today. Revealed through insightful interviews and compelling photographic portraits, the women represent both diversity and sisterhood. They offer us new ways of relating to each other, and the Divine.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

For White Fire: A Portrait of Women Spiritual Leaders in America, Malka Drucker interviewed 31 female rabbis, ministers, authors, gurus and teachers from all over the United States (though, not surprisingly, nearly half were from California). Included are interviews with Goddess worshipper Starhawk, Princeton professor Elaine Pagels, Hindu saint Ammachi, ashram leader Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati (born Joyce Green in Brooklyn) and the mother-daughter team of Helen and Rebecca Cohen, both Unitarian Universalist ministers. The thrust of this book is definitely toward the left end of the religious spectrum, with almost all of the interviewees reflecting commitments to feminism, tolerance and interfaith understanding. Drucker's writing can be intrusive, as she tends to insert too much of herself and her unnecessary commentary into each interview. Still, the subjects are interesting, and Gay Block's arresting photographs of each leader are memorable. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

According to Drucker, the Talmud says that "Torah is written with black fire upon white fire," and woman is the white fire, the invisible background. But as this book demonstrates, women are no longer only in the background. Here are portraits of 31 women in the forefront as spiritual leaders. Some are in the cultural and religious mainstream, though many are not. Some have quickly recognizable names-Della Reese, Marianne Williamson, and Sister Jose Hobday-while others are ordained clergy, teachers, writers, or social activists. All, however, are spiritual leaders. The stories of these women, told mostly in their own words through interviews with Drucker, a rabbi and award-winning author who collaborated with photographer Block on Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust, make for fascinating reading, as many have overcome great odds. The author hopes that this volume will offer inspiration and a different view of women and divinity. Highly recommended, especially for spirituality, religion, and women's collections.-John Moryl, Yeshiva Univ. Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.