A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community / Edition 1

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Today's Jewish women, successfully availing themselves of the increased educational and occupational opportunities that feminism has encouraged, feel a new sense of self and entitlement. Yet as feminist advances have opened possibilities, they also have called into question traditional roles. The challenge to Jewish women today is to preserve the Jewish community and guarantee its survival while creating meaningful new social and spiritual models that respond to feminist enlightenment. Drawing on interviews with Jewish women from eighteen to eighty across the United States, as well as on new demographic data, scholarship, literature, and media, A Breath of Life explores the full panorama of contemporary options for Jewish women striving to combine community family and individual needs.

A Jewish Book Club selection.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A timely and important work that will bring a shock of recognition to American Jewish women – and men – much as Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique did to America 30 years ago. Highly recommended." —Library Journal

"In this comprehensive, very readable piece of scholarship, Sylvia Barack Fishman charts how today's feminists (like turn-of-the-century Eastern European Jews or, later, Holocaust survivors) are responsible for American Judaism's freshest air . . . A germinal work." — —Lilith

"A comprehensive and lively analysis of the changes created by women struggling and acquiring a place in Jewish communal life . . . A Breath of Life has excellent descriptions of the changes that have taken place and continue to take place as women struggle for equality in Jewish life." —(Boston) Jewish Advocate

From Barnes & Noble
Assesses the impact of feminism on contemporary Jewish life through various sources, including women who discuss the challenges of combining faith, community, family, and individual needs.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

SYLVIA BARACK FISHMAN is Assistant Professor of Contemporary American Jewish Life and Senior Research Associate at the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University, and editor of the anthology Follow My Footprints: Changing Images of Women in American Jewish Fiction (1992).

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Table of Contents

Discovering Jewish Feminism
Contemplating Marriage
Choosing Jewish Parenthood • Working, Volunteering, and Jewish Living
Broadening Sexual and Gender Roles
Sanctifying Women's Lives
Praying with Women's Voices
Educating the New Jewish Women
Breaking Through Jewish Ceilings
Balancing Jewish and Feminist Goals

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