The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions

Overview

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 ...

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The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions

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Overview

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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580233705
  • Publisher: Jewish Lights Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 442,081
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, one of the leading rabbis of a new generation, is director of Kolel: The Adult Center for Liberal Jewish Learning, a full-time progressive adult Jewish learning center. Goldstein lectures frequently throughout North America. She is also editor of The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions; and The Women's Haftarah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Haftarah Portions, the 5 Megillot and Special Shabbatot; and author of the award-winning New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future and ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens (all Jewish Lights).

Rabbi Elyse Goldstein is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Women and Judaism
  • Reform Judaism
  • Jewish Parenting
  • General Judaica
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Table of Contents

Index by Author 13
Foreword: The Different Voice of Jewish Women 15
Acknowledgments 23
Introduction 25
What You Need to Know to Use This Book 36
Rabbinic Commentators and Midrashic Collections Noted in This Book 41
Bereshit/Genesis
Bereshit (1:1-6:8): The Untold Story of Eve 47
Noach (6:9-11:32): Mrs. Noah 53
Lech Lecha (12:1-17:27): What's in a Name? 57
Vayera (18:1-22:24): Positive Pillars 63
Chaye Sarah (23:1-25:18): Woman's Life, Woman's Truth 70
Toldot (25:19-28:9): Rebecca's Birth Stories 75
Vayetze (28:10-32:3): Wrestling on the Other Side of the River 79
Vayishlach (32:4-36:43): No Means No 85
Vayeshev (37:1-40:23): Power, Sex, and Deception 89
Miketz (41:1-44:17): In Search of Dreamers 99
Vayigash (44:18-47:27): Daddy's Girl 106
Vayechi (47:28-50:26): Serach Bat Asher--the Woman Who Enabled the Exodus 112
Shmot/Exodus
Shmot (1:1-6:1): Rediscovering Tziporah 121
Va-era (6:2-9:35): The Many Names of God 127
Bo (10:1-13:16): Power and Liberation 133
Beshalach (13:17-17:16): Miriam's Song, Miriam's Silence 138
Yitro (18:1-20:26): We All Stood at Sinai 143
Mishpatim (21:1-24:18): What Must We Do? 148
Terumah (25:1-27:19): Community as Sacred Space 154
Tetzaveh (27:20-30:10): Finding Our Home in the Temple and the Temple in Our Homes 160
Ki Tissa (30:11-34:35): The Women Didn't Build the Golden Calf--or Did They? 164
Vayakhel (35:1-38:20): Of Women and Mirrors 172
Pekudei (38:21-40:38): The Birthing of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) 179
Vayikra/Leviticus
Vayikra (1:1-5:26): The Book of Relationship 185
Tzav (6:1-8:36): Message and Messenger 191
Shemini (9:1-11:47): Kashrut, Food, and Women 196
Tazria (12:1-13:59): Our Children/God's Children 202
Metzorah (14:1-15:33): Reclaiming the Torah of Our Lives 211
Acharei Mot (16:1-18:30): After a Death ... Then What? 218
Kedoshim (19:1-20:27): Who Shall Be Holy? 225
Emor (21:1-24:23): Elitism in the Levitical Priesthood 231
Behar (25:1-26:2): Proclaiming Liberty throughout the Land 238
Bechukotai (26:3-27:34): Mir Zaynen Do--We Are Here 246
Bamidbar/Numbers
Bamidbar (1:1-4:20): Beyond Pidyon Ha-ben: Blessings for Giving Life 255
Naso (4:21-7:89): Inscribing Jealousy on the Bodies of Women 261
Beha'alotecha (8:1-12:16): The Silencing of Miriam 270
Shelach-Lecha (13:1-15:41): The Grasshoppers and the Giants 279
Korach (16:1-18:32): Authority, Status, Power 286
Chukkat (19:1-22:1): Blood and Water, Death and Life 294
Balak (22:2-25:9): The End of Abuse 301
Pinchas (25:10-30:1): Daughters and Inheritance Law 307
Matot (30:2-32:42): Women Speak Louder Than Words 315
Masa'ei (33:1-36:13): Boundaries and Limits 321
Devarim/Deuteronomy
Devarim (1:1-3:22): Essence and Transcendence 331
Va'etchanan (3:23-7:11): "A Land Flowing with Milk and Honey": Sexualizing the Land 338
Ekev (7:12-11:25): Circumcision, Womb, and Spiritual Intimacy 345
Re'eh (11:26-16:17): A Time to Tear Down, a Time to Build Up 351
Shoftim (16:18-21:9): Principles for Feminist Approaches to Torah 358
Ki Tetzey (21:10-25:19): The Accused Woman 364
Ki Tavo (26:1-29:8): The Basket Ceremony of Gratitude and Hope 371
Nitzavim (29:9-30:20): Women and the Covenant 377
Vayelech (31:1-30): Guardians of the Tradition 384
Ha'azinu (32:1-52): Understanding the Anger 390
V'zot Habrachah (33:1-34:12): The Loss of Moses 397
Epilogue: Looking Backward and Ahead 405
Notes 410
Glossary 428
Bibliography and Suggested Further Reading 434
About the Contributors 440
About Jewish Lights 481
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2002

    Feminist Analysis in dazzling variety

    Is part of your Sabbath preparation or observance picking up a book and reading a short (5-10 minute) essay about the parasha of the week --- or would you like it to be? If so The Women's Torah Commentary (Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, ed., Jewish Lights, 2000) may be just what you could use. The book has 54 essays --- one for each Torah portion. Each essay in this anthology is written by a different ordained woman Rabbi, or one who is soon to be ordained. The book provides a distinctly feminist analysis. The editor wanted writers who "would sing the song of women - to speak in a woman's voice." And from what I've seen, there seems relatively little of the male-bashing that sometime mars feminist analysis, especially of the Humash. Many essays deal with women characters, but since we are often told very little about them, the writers often reach into midrash to flesh these characters out, and then add some imaginings of their own to the mix to draw their lessons. This is seen for example in the discussion of the unnamed wife of Noah, and in the treatment of Asenath, the wife of Joseph. Of course, many readings have no women present, but that does not stymie a feminist analysis. One imaginative treatment is of parasha Pekudei, where the author draws a parallel between the construction of the mishkan (desert Tabernacle), and the human birthing process. Not every essay is a gem. The one on Tzav stuck me as uninspired, with the reference to women little more than pasted in. Still, there is a ringing affirmation of Eve's conduct, an intriguing connection drawn between kashrut and eating disorders, a fine comparison on the Rachel/Leah and Jacob/Esau struggles, and an inspiring piece on "Community as a Sacred Space" to name just a few of the winners. You might think that a book of commentary with the same overall analytical approach (feminist) in most essays would start to sound the same after a while, but the approaches, themes, and writing styles provide a great deal of variety. There is a significant emphasis on transformation and growth, which is not surprising since women who choose to become rabbis are often people seeking to make a significant change themselves. The book ends with 35 pages of biographical notes, in which each contributor provides a quote on how or why she came to be a Rabbi.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    great insights

    The varying sources and points of view is fascinating. It gives us all a "better" way to see the Torah.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2011

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