To Be a Jewish Woman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568211534
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/1/1997
  • Pages: 282
  • Product dimensions: 6.07 (w) x 9.01 (h) x 0.96 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Preface xv
Acknowledgments xix
Introduction xxi
What Is Torah-observant Judaism? xxii
The Jewish Concept of Freedom xxv
The Modern Jewish Woman xxvii
Part I The Sources
1 Traditional Biblical Interpretation 3
2 All about Eve--What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden 5
The Nature of the First Person 6
Man's Self-sufficiency Is Not Good 7
The Creation of Woman 9
First Woman as a Helper 11
Differences between Men and Women 14
Theories Regarding How Paradise Was Lost 14
The Sin in the Garden of Eden 15
The First Woman after Her Sin 17
God's Reaction to Disobeying His Commandment 18
The Ten Changes that God Brought to Woman 18
The Man's Ten Changes 21
First Woman's Appellation as "Chavah" 21
Implications for First Man's and First Woman's Descendants 22
Lillith 23
3 Men and Women in Traditional Judaism 27
Maintaining Differences 27
Power 28
Role Divisions in Judaism 29
Requirement to Imitate God 30
Self-actualization through Mitzvot 31
Theorized Differences in Primary Intellects 32
Women's Exemption from Certain Mitzvot 34
Differential Priorities 35
Theory about Why Women Needn't Study Torah for Its Own Sake 36
Women's Emotional and Spiritual Nurturing through Prayer 38
Women's Spiritual Growth through Women's Mitzvot 38
4 Women as Redeemers of the Jewish People 43
Fulfilling the Purpose of Creation of the World 44
Eve's Dual Roles 45
Sarah's Contribution to Redemption 46
Rebekah's Contribution to Redemption 47
Leah and Rachel 49
Dinah 53
Tamar 53
Jewish Women in Egypt 54
The Golden Calf 56
The Spies 57
Deborah and Yael 58
Ruth 60
Contemporary Women 61
Part II Relating to Prayer
5 Separate Seating in the Synagogue 67
Function of a Synagogue 67
Appropriate Conduct in a Synagogue 68
Structures of the Temples 70
Intermingling 71
Scriptural Basis for Mechitzah 72
Recent Rulings about Synagogue Mechitzahs 73
Arguments Raised against Mechitzah 75
Separate but Better 76
Our Aversion to Restrictions 77
6 Making Traditional Prayer Relevant 81
What Is Prayer? 83
God's Personal Involvement in Our Lives 84
The Relevance of Ancient Liturgy 87
Elements of Jewish Prayer 90
Altering Our Perceptions of God 91
7 Women and Prayer 93
Different Contributions by Different Groups 94
Usurpation of Others' Roles 95
Gaining Importance 96
The Origins and Implications of Minyan 97
Public versus Private 100
Chanah 101
The Meaning of Commandments 102
Prerequisites for Prayer 103
Women's Obligation to Pray 104
Making Prayer Meaningful 105
Saying Kaddish 107
Women's Prayer Groups 108
Standing in God's Presence 110
8 "Blessed Are You ... Who Did Not Make Me a Woman" 113
Receiving with Dignity 113
The Two Inclinations 114
How the Evil Inclination Works 115
Fighting the Battle 116
The Two Torah Scrolls 117
The Meaning of the Blessing "Who Did Not Make me a Woman" 118
Carrying Out God's Will 119
Part III Marriage and Procreation
9 Modesty and Self-esteem 123
Theories about Men's and Women's Bodies 125
Projecting a Godly Self-image 126
Theories about Why We Cover the Body 127
Covering What Is Precious 128
The Centrality of Modesty 130
Unique Contribution of Women 130
Laws of Modesty 131
Rationale for Details in Modesty 133
Modesty in Role 135
The Potency of Internal Power 137
Women in Nonmaternal Roles 137
Finding the Godliness Within 138
10 The Jewish Marriage Document and Jewish Marital Obligations 139
Effecting Marriage 140
What Is the Ketuvah? 140
What a Ketuvah Says 141
The Man's Marital Obligations 142
Jewish Inheritance Laws 146
Financial Provisions of the Ketuvah 147
Modern Prenuptial Agreements 149
Modern Antenuptial Agreements 150
11 Sexual Intimacy and Mikvah 153
Enlightened Perspectives 154
The Concept of Ritual Impurity 155
Theories about Levels of Impurity 156
Theories about the Potentials of Sex 158
Woman's Ritual Impurity 159
The Applicability of Ritual Impurity 160
The Framework for Sexual Expression 161
Sexual Relations 162
The Laws of Family Purity 163
Effects of Family Purity Laws 167
Opportunities for Spiritual Evaluation 168
Bonding through Family Purity 169
Significance of Menstruation 170
Mystical Significance of Seven Clean Days 171
Historical Modification Due to Women 172
Significance of the Mikvah 172
Back to the Source 173
It's Never Too Late 174
12 Birth Control 177
The Jew's Obligation to Procreate 178
Contemporary Attitudes about Contraception 180
Financial Considerations 182
Circumstances that May Allow for Birth Control 183
Marital Obligations of Husbands 184
Female Contraception 185
Hierarchy of Preference for Female Contraception 186
Male Contraception 189
13 Abortion 191
Scriptural Sources that Discuss Abortion 191
Reasons Why Abortion Is Prohibited 193
Who Has Ultimate Control over Women's Bodies? 194
The Fetus's Status 195
When Is Abortion Permitted? 195
Abortion for Financial Reasons 196
Aborting Handicapped Fetuses 196
Preferred Time Frame for Abortions 197
14 Divorce 199
Marriage and Divorce as Contractual Relationships 200
The Divorce Process 200
The Divorce Document 201
Consequences of Not Obtaining a Get 202
Polygamy and Polyandry 203
Agunah 204
Recalcitrant Husbands 205
The Power of the Bet Din 205
The French Revolution 206
Proposals to Insure Jewish Divorce after Civil Divorce 207
Attempts to Annul Marriage 207
How to Obtain a Get 208
Part IV Women in Family and Community
15 Sarah's Contribution to the Jewish People 215
Sarah's Prophecy 216
Sarah's Purity 216
Sarah's Eulogy 217
Sarah's Three Accomplishments 220
Subsequent Generations 221
Sarah's Death 222
Sarah's Contribution to Us 223
16 Raising Jewish Children 225
The Importance of Questioning 227
Modeling 228
Effective Jewish Parenting--Infancy until Three 228
Providing Security and Modeling Authority 229
Stages of Education--Age Three 230
Limits and Punishment 231
Moral and Social Development 233
School Age 235
Encouragement, Not Punishment 237
Parental Consistency and Honesty 238
Building Self-confidence to Confront Life's Challenges 240
Bar and Bat Mitzvah 241
The Centrality of Ongoing Jewish Education 242
Confronting Challenges 244
17 Closing Gaps between Women: True Sisterhood 247
Jewish Foremothers 248
Imitatio Dei 249
Living Up to Our Potentials 250
The Importance of Giving 251
Being Merciful and Compassionate 253
18 Making Life Meaningful 257
The Messianic Era 258
Being All We Can Be 259
Notes 261
For Further Reading 273
Index 275
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