The Women's Haftarah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Haftarah Portions, the 5 Megillot & Special Shabbatot


Women rabbis are changing the face of Judaism. Discover how their interpretations of the Prophets, Writings, and Megillot can enrich your perspective.The Haftarah is a potent tool for understanding the values, ethics, and moral lessons contained in the Torah readings. In this first-of-its-kind volume, more than eighty women rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements offer fresh perspectives on the beloved texts that make up the Haftarah—the Prophets and Writings—and the Five ...
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The Women's Haftarah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Haftarah Portions, the 5 Megillot & Special Shabbatot

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Women rabbis are changing the face of Judaism. Discover how their interpretations of the Prophets, Writings, and Megillot can enrich your perspective.The Haftarah is a potent tool for understanding the values, ethics, and moral lessons contained in the Torah readings. In this first-of-its-kind volume, more than eighty women rabbis from the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements offer fresh perspectives on the beloved texts that make up the Haftarah—the Prophets and Writings—and the Five Megillot.Based on readings that are rich in imagery—some poetic, some narrative, some dark and brooding—their commentaries include surprising insights on the stories of Deborah and Yael, David and Goliath, David and Bathsheva, and the witch of Endor, among many others. Themes such as Jerusalem as woman, the story of Jonah and the fish, and other prophetic images are informed and challenged by this groundbreaking work.A rich resource, a major contribution to modern biblical commentary, and the ideal companion to The Women’s Torah Commentary, The Women’s Haftarah Commentary will inspire all of us to gain deeper meaning from the Hebrew scriptures and a heightened appreciation of Judaism.Contributors Include:Judith Z. Abrams • Analia Bortz • Sharon Brous • Sue Levi Elwell • Susan P. Fendrick • Karen L. Fox • Shoshana Boyd Gelfand • Laura Geller • Rachel Sabath-Beit Halachmi • Jill Hammer • Karyn D. Kedar • Valerie Lieber • Sheryl Nosan-Blank • Debra Orenstein • Barbara Rosman Penzner • Hara E. Person • Geela Rayzel Raphael • Laura M. Rappaport • Ilene Schneider • Rona Shapiro • Shira Stern • Pamela Wax • Nancy Wechsler-Azen
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brava: this commentary is brimming with insight and versatility. Read straight through as a whole, it exudes the atmosphere of an intense retreat. Read piecemeal, it acts not only as a reference tool or study guide, but also as a weekly devotional. As in the first volume (The Women's Torah Commentary), there are as many viewpoints as there are parishot. The rabbis come from a diversity of religious affiliations-reform, conservative, reconstructionist-and an equally diverse array of backgrounds: as well as being rabbis, they are also doctors, lawyers, social workers and even a Pulitzer Prize winner. And while they are daughters of rabbis, Holocaust survivors and Russian refugees, they are first and foremost, like all women, daughters of God. Continuing in the age-old tradition of Torah study, this volume draws from centuries of interpretation and adds a woman's touch, but with no axe to grind and no agenda to promote. For example, one need not be a feminist or even a woman to take up the charge offered in reference to Haftarat Pikudei (I Kings 7:51-8:21) by Rabbi Y.L. Bat Joseph that "each generation has the obligation to pick up where Solomon left off and dedicate our homes anew as sanctuaries of Jewish learning, Jewish ritual and Jewish continuity." Male and female readers across a spectrum of religious affiliations can find not only explanation, but hope and renewal within these pages. Those building libraries of Judaica should consider this volume and its predecessor as the contemporary companions to the Hertz Chomash and the recently published Etz Hayim. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this companion volume to her popular The Women's Torah Commentary, teacher and rabbi Goldstein claims that the haftarah portion, that weekly reading from either the Prophets or the Writings sections of the Hebrew Bible, serves as a potent pedagogical tool for teaching values, ethics, and moral lessons. Goldstein has collected feminist midrash, or commentary, on this material from 85 female rabbis, representing Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist perspectives (Orthodoxy's voice is sadly absent). Their commentaries offer diverse and thoughtful reflection on Jewish piety, practice, and history, evidencing concerns for social justice, violence, gender equity, and peace in the context of religious contemplation. In addition, Goldstein offers an index of authors and supplemental readings as well as a reasonably complete glossary of Hebrew terms. That is fairly handy since the author presumes a fair knowledge of Jewish holidays, holy days, and religious idioms. While very accessible and quite enjoyable in its own right, this title will mostly interest libraries with a concentration on popular Jewish works. Sandra Collins, Univ. of Pittsburgh Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580233712
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 832,558
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Sharon Brous is the founding rabbi of IKAR (, a spiritual community dedicated to reanimating Jewish life through soulful religious practice that is rooted in a deep commitment to social justice. She has been noted as one of the leading rabbis in the country in Newsweek/Daily Beast and has been listed among the Forward's fifty most influential American Jews numerous times. She serves on the faculty of the Wexner Heritage Program, the Shalom Hartman Institute, and Reboot and sits on the board of Rabbis for Human Rights.

Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand received her rabbinic ordination in 1993 at The Jewish Theological Seminary in New York. She has served as chief executive of the United Kingdom Movement for Reform Judaism and prior to that was vice president of the Wexner Heritage Foundation in New York. Currently she is director of JHub, an operating program of the London-based Pears Foundation. She contributed to All These Vows—Kol Nidre, May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor, and We Have Sinned: Sin and Confession in Judaism—Ashamnu and Al Chet (both Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar teaches matters of the spirit to groups throughout the U.S. She is senior rabbi at Congregation B'nai Jehoshua Beth Elohim in the Chicago area, and the inspiring author of The Bridge to Forgiveness: Stories and Prayers for Finding God and Restoring Wholeness; Our Dance with God: Finding Prayer, Perspective and Meaning in the Stories of Our Lives; and God Whispers: Stories of the Soul, Lessons of the Heart and contributed to May God Remember: Memory and Memorializing in Judaism—Yizkor; Who by Fire, Who by Water—Un'taneh Tokef; and All These Vows—Kol Nidre (all Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Dr. Shira Stern, MHL, DMin, BCJC, is a past president of and certified through the National Association of Jewish Chaplains and currently chairs the Ethics Committee. She has served on the CCAR
Board of Trustees as the vice president for member services. She currently has a private pastoral counseling practice in Marlboro, New Jersey, and serves Temple Rodeph Torah of Marlboro, New Jersey, as its educator.
Previously, she was the director of community chaplaincy of Middlesex County, New Jersey, and director of the Jewish Institute for Pastoral Care, part of the HealthCare Chaplaincy, providing programs for rabbinic and cantorial students, chaplains, and clergy in the field. She was trained by the Red Cross to serve on the SAIR team—Spiritual Air 450 The Infrastructure of Spiritual / Pastoral Care Incident Response Team (now the Critical Incident Response Team)— and worked for four months at the Liberty State Park Family Assistance Center in the aftermath of 9/11. Her selected works include "Visions of an Alternative Rabbinate," CCAR Journal, and “Healing Muses: Music as Spiritual Therapy,” Jewish Relational Care A to Z.

Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams, PhD, an award-winning Jewish educator, is widely recognized for making the study of Judaism and its sacred texts accessible and relevant to our everyday lives. She is the founder and director of Maqom: A School for Adult Talmud Study ( and a recipient of the Covenant Award for outstanding performance in the field of Jewish education. She teaches through the ALEPH rabbinic program and is author of Learn Talmud and Talmud for Beginners, among other books about Talmud and prayer. She is a popular speaker on the topics of Jewish learning and sacred literature.

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Table of Contents

Index by AuthorAcknowledgmentsIntroductionRabbinic Commentators and Midrashic Collections Noted in This AnthologyBereshit / GenesisHaftarat Bereshit: Isaiah 42:5–43:10Rabbi Amy Joy SmallHaftarat Noach: Isaiah 54:1–55:5Rabbi Jill HammerHaftarat Lech Lecha: Isaiah 40:27–41:16Rabbi Sue Levi ElwellHaftarat Vayera: II Kings 4:1–37Rabbi Paula Jayne Winnig.Haftarat Chaye Sarah: I Kings 1:1–31Rabbi Beth Janus.Haftarat Toldot: Malachi 1:1–2:7Rabbi Carol E. SteinHaftarat Vayeitze: Hosea 12:13–14:10Rabbi Kathy CohenHaftarat Vayishlach: Hosea 11:7–12:12Rabbi Nina Beth CardinHaftarat Vayashev: Amos 2:6–3:8Rabbi Hara E. PersonHaftarat Miketz: I Kings 3:15–4:1Rabbi Zoe KleinHaftarat Vayigash: Ezekiel 37:15–28Rabbi Marsha J. Pik-NathanHaftarat Vayechi: I Kings 2:1–12Rabbi Amber PowersShmot / ExodusHaftarat Shmot: Isaiah 27:6–28:13; 29:22–23Rabbi Sharon Brous.Haftarat Va-era: Ezekiel 28:25–29:21Rabbi Andrea Carol Steinberger.Haftarat Bo: Jeremiah 46:13–28Rabbi Denise L. EgerHaftarat Beshalach: Judges 4:4–5:31Rabbi Deborah J. Schloss.Haftarat Yitro: Isaiah 6:1–7:6; 9:5–6Rabbi Shira SternHaftarat Mishpatim: Jeremiah 34:8–22; 33:25–26Rabbi Lori Cohen.Haftarat Terumah: I Kings 5:26–6:13Rabbi Elisa KoppelHaftarat Tetzaveh: Ezekiel 43:10–27Rabbi Alison B. KobeyHaftarat Ki Tissa: I Kings 18:1–39Rabbi Valerie LieberHaftarat Vayakhel: I Kings 7:40–50Rabbi Danielle LeshawHaftarat Pikudei: I Kings 7:51–8:21Rabbi Y. L. bat JosephVayikra / LeviticusHaftarat Vayikra: Isaiah 43:21–44:23Rabbi Tina Grimberg.Haftarat Tzav: Jeremiah 7:21–8:3; 9:22–23Rabbi Elaine Rose GlickmanHaftarat Shimini: II Samuel 6:1–7:17Rabbi Julie WolkoffHaftarat Tazri’a: II Kings 4:42–5:19Rabbi Mary Lande ZamoreHaftarat Metzorah: II Kings 7:3–20Rabbi Rochelle RobinsHaftarat Acharei Mot: Ezekiel 22:1–19Rabbi Nina H. MandelHaftarat Kedoshim: Amos 9:7–15Rabbi Rona ShapiroHaftarat Emor: Ezekiel 44:15–31Rabbi Rachel Esserman.Haftarat Behar: Jeremiah 32:6–27Rabbi Nancy Wechsler-AzenHaftarat Bechukotai: Jeremiah 16:19–17:14Rabbi Hanna Gracia Yerushalmi.Bamidbar / NumbersHaftarat Bamidbar: Hosea 2:1–22Rabbi Rachel Leila MillerHaftarat Naso: Judges 13:2–25Rabbi Judith Z. AbramsHaftarat Behalotecha: Zechariah 2:14–4:7Rabbi Margot SteinHaftarat Shelach Lecha: Joshua 2:1–24Rabbi Pamela WaxHaftarat Korach: I Samuel 11:14–12:22Rabbi Barbara BortsHaftarat Chukkat: Judges 11:1–33Rabbi Vicki LiebermanHaftarat Balak: Micah 5:6–6:8Rabbi Jane Kanarek.Haftarat Pinchas: I Kings 18:46–19:21Rabbi Susan P. FendrickHaftarat Mattot: Jeremiah 1:1–2:3Rabbi Rachel R. Bovitz.Haftarat Ma’asei: Jeremiah 2:4–28; 3:4Rabbi Jennifer Elkin Gorman.Devarim / DeuteronomyHaftarat Devarim: Isaiah 1:1–27Rabbi Analia BortzHaftarat Va’etchanan: Isaiah 40:1–26Rabbi Sheryl Nosan-BlankHaftarat Ekev: Isaiah 49:14–51:3Rabbi Lynne A. KernHaftarat Re’eh: Isaiah 54:11–55:5Rabbi Joanne Yocheved Heiligman.Haftarat Shoftim: Isaiah 51:12–52:12Rabbi Cindy EngerHaftarat Ki Tetze: Isaiah 54:1–10Rabbi Vivian MayerHaftarat Ki Tavo: Isaiah 60:1–22Rabbi Shoshana Dworsky..Haftarat Nitzavim: Isaiah 61:10–63:9Rabbi Laura GellerHaftarat Vayelech: Isaiah 55:6–56:8Rabbi Susan GulackHaftarat Ha’azinu: II Samuel 22:1–51Rabbi Elizabeth W. GoldsteinHaftarat V’zot Habrachah: Joshua 1:1–18Rabbi Nancy Rita MyersSpecial ShabbatotHaftarat Shabbat Rosh Chodesh: Isaiah 66:1–24Rabbi Ilene SchneiderHaftarat Shabbat Shekalim: II Kings 12:1–16Rabbi Stacia DeutschHaftarat Shabbat Zachor: I Samuel 15:1–34Rabbi Karen SoriaHaftarat Shabbat Parah: Ezekiel 36:16–38Rabbi Mira Wasserman.Haftarat Shabbat HaChodesh: Ezekiel 45:16–46:18Rabbi Helaine EttingerHaftarat Shabbat HaGadol: Malachi 3:4–24Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh.Haftarot for Days of AweHaftarah for the First Day of Rosh Hashanah: I Samuel 1:1–2:10Rabbi Serena Raziel EisenbergHaftarah for the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah: Jeremiah 31:1–20Rabbi Linda Bertenthal.Haftarah for Shabbat Shuva: Hosea 14:2–10; Joel 2:15–27; Michah 7:18–20Rabbi Jessica Locketz .Haftarah for Yom Kippur Morning: Isaiah 57:14–59:4Rabbi Ilana Berenbaum Grinblat.Haftarah for Yom Kippur Afternoon: The Book of JonahRabbi Myriam KlotzHoliday HaftarotHaftarah for the First Day of Sukkot: Zechariah 14:1–21Rabbi Chana Thompson Shor .Haftarah for Shabbat Chanukah: Zechariah 2:14–4:7Rabbi Sharyn H. Henry.Haftarah for the First Day of Pesach: Joshua 3:5–7; 5:2–6:1; 6:27Rabbi Linda JosephHaftarah for the First Day of Shavuot: Ezekiel 1:1–28, 3:12Rabbi Shaina Bacharach.Five MegillotShir HaShirim: The Song of SongsRabbi Rachel Sabath-Beit Halachmi.Megillat Ruth: The Book of RuthRabbi Barbara Rosman Penzner..Eicha: The Book of LamentationsRabbi Melinda Panken..Kohelet: EcclesiastesRabbi Laura M. Rappaport .Megillat Esther: The Book of EstherRabbi Karen L. Fox. .Special Additional SelectionsBathsheba: II Samuel 11Rabbi Jessica Spitalnic Brockman.Michal: I Samuel 18:17–29; I Samuel 25:44; II Samuel 3:13; II Samuel 6:20–23Rabbi Beth L. Schwartz.The Prophetess Huldah: II Kings 22; II Chronicles 34Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar.Judith and the Story of ChanukahRabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand .Delilah: Judges 16:4–31Rabbi Debra Orenstein.The Witch of Endor: I Samuel 28:3–28Rabbi Geela Rayzel RaphaelJerusalem as Woman in the Book of EzekielRabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses and Rachel Jacoby RosenfieldThe Woman of Valor: Proverbs 31:10–31Rabbi Wendy Spears Psalm 23Rabbi Devorah JacobsonNotes GlossaryBibliography and Suggested Further ReadingAbout the Contributors
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