Four Centuries of Jewish Women

Overview

Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality is the first book-length exploration of Jewish spirituality as seen through the eyes of women. Drawing on archival material that has not been available to the contemporary reader, as well as new pieces written specifically for this volume, Ellen M. Umansky and Dianne Ashton have woven together a multiplicity of international voices, revealing the great variety of spiritual paths that modern Jewish women have taken. Contributors include Rebecca Gratz and Emma Lazarus, ...
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Overview

Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality is the first book-length exploration of Jewish spirituality as seen through the eyes of women. Drawing on archival material that has not been available to the contemporary reader, as well as new pieces written specifically for this volume, Ellen M. Umansky and Dianne Ashton have woven together a multiplicity of international voices, revealing the great variety of spiritual paths that modern Jewish women have taken. Contributors include Rebecca Gratz and Emma Lazarus, Amy Eilberg, Marcia Falk, Blu Greenberg, Kadya Molodowsky, and Judith Plaskow, among many others.

Umansky and Ashton have woven together a multiplicity of international voices, revealing the great variety of spiritual paths that modern Jewish women have taken. Contributors include Rebecca Gratz, Emma Lazarus, Amy Eilberg, Marcia Falk, Blu Greenberg, Kadya Molodowsky, and Judith Plaskow, among others.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
There are not enough superlatives to describe this anthology of diary entries, letters, prayers, poetry, sermons, speeches, rituals, and even minutes of meetings which together reconstruct the world of Jewish women and their concerns as spiritual human beings from the year 1560 until just yesterday. It is a feast for the hungry, a cornucopia of useable ceremonies, a glorious, full-throated chorus of women's voices where before there was silence or whispers or, worst of all, men telling us what women want, need, and care about. To Ellen Umansky and Dianne Ashton, brava and thank you! —Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America

"This is a wonderful collection that recovers the voices of Jewish women. It is essential reading, and a valuable resource, for all who are interested in Jewish history and culture." —Paula Hyman, Yale University

"The most deeply spiritual moments are those of connecting and healing. Not only are there many such moments in the specific tellings of this book, but the book as a whole makes a connection across the oldest, deepest split in Jewish life—the split between the well-told stories of men and the little-told stories of women." —Arthur Waskow, author of Seasons of Our Joy: A Modern Guide to the Jewish Holidays

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Various works composed between 1560 and 1990 by some 100 Jewish women living in Europe, America and the stet/pk land of Israel testify to a strong, age-old female religious self-identity. Defending herself to a Catholic cleric in a 1641 pamphlet, Italian poet Sara Copia Sullam declares her belief in the immortality of the soul; 17th-century German merchant Gluckel of Hamelnsp ok urges her children to set aside time for the study of Torah and to be honest in money matters with both Jews and gentiles; and also offered here is a prayer, found in an anomymous 1648 Amsterdam collection, that women said when they put the Sabbath bread into the oven. During the 19th century, American Emma Lazarus honors, in a poem, the Touro Synagogue of Newport, R.I., and American Penina Moise composes English-language hymns for use in Reform temples. In 1916, American Zionist Henrietta Szold explains in a letter that she will defy Jewish tradition and say kaddish for her mother; and Hungarian-born WW II heroine Hannah Senesh dreams of a national homeland for the Jews. Contemporary voices create new rituals as they meditate on menstruation, sexual abuse and rape, miscarriage, conversion, feminism and nuclear arms. Umansky and Ashton are religion academics. (July)
Library Journal
This unique anthology is devoted to writings by Jewish women. While the book spans four centuries, the emphasis is on recent decades, with one-third of the material written in the past 30 years. The collection is significantly strengthened by an expansive overview entitled, ``Piety, Persuasion, Friendship'' and by insightful introductory material to each of the four sections. The term spirituality is used very broadly and includes social service and charitable activities. Selections run the gamut from prayers, poems, ethical wills, and sermons to excerpts from sisterhood minutes, women's organizational handbooks, and speeches to Jewish women's service organizations. The fascinating materials reflect the changing roles of Jewish women. An important addition to women's studies collections.-- Carol R. Glatt, VA Medical Ctr. Lib., Philadelphia
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807036136
  • Publisher: Beacon
  • Publication date: 7/31/1992
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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