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Women and Jewish Law: The Essential Texts, Their History, and Their Relevance for Today

Overview

How has a legal tradition determined by men affected the lives of women? What are the traditional Jewish views of marriage, divorce, sexuality, contraception, abortion? Women and Jewish Law gives contemporary readers access to the central texts of the Jewish religious tradition on issues of special concern to women. Combining a historical overview with a thoughtful feminist critique, this pathbreaking study points the way for “informed change” in the status of women in Jewish ...

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Women and Jewish Law: The Essential Texts, Their History, and Their Relevance for Today

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Overview

How has a legal tradition determined by men affected the lives of women? What are the traditional Jewish views of marriage, divorce, sexuality, contraception, abortion? Women and Jewish Law gives contemporary readers access to the central texts of the Jewish religious tradition on issues of special concern to women. Combining a historical overview with a thoughtful feminist critique, this pathbreaking study points the way for “informed change” in the status of women in Jewish life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An amazing book—rich in scholarship, deep in historical perspetice, and enormously interesting to anyone concerned with questions of Jewish life."
—Anne Roiphe

“An essential resource and entry point for understanding the construction of women’s roles in traditional Judaism.”
—Judith Plaskow, author of Standing Alone at Sinai
 
“With great precision and clarity, Biale ferrets out for us the inner meaning of the law, traces its development, and explores its relevance to Jewish women’s lives today.
—Blu Greenberg, author of On Women and Judaism
 
“[Biale] open[s] up the halakhic process to women, providing the reader who is unfamiliar with the original Hebrew texts with her first encounter of learning.”
Hadassah

Jewish Book World
Provides access to the central texts of Talmudic and medieval literature which discuss legal issues of special concern to women, including: marriage, divorce, family purity laws, sexuality, lesbianism, and contraception. Biale offers a thought-provoking and thorough textual analysis of the traditional role of women in Jewish tradition coupled with a feminist critique of the sources she examines. In so doing, the author enables her readers to become informed participants in the changing status of women in Judaism today.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805210491
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,242,985
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Rachel Biale grew up on Kibbutz Kfar Ruppin in Israel. She earned an M.A. in Jewish history at UCLA and an M.S.W. at Yeshiva University. She lives in Berkley, California, where she is a practicing psychotherapist.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Introduction 3
1 Women and the Mitzvot 10
2 Marriage 44
3 Divorce 70
4 The Agunah and the Yevamah 102
5 Sexuality and Marital Relations 121
6 Niddah: Laws of the Menstruant 147
7 Sexuality Outside of Marriage: Incest, Adultery, Promiscuity, and Lesbianism 175
8 Procreation and Contraception 198
9 Abortion 219
10 Rape 239
Epilogue 256
Notes 267
Halakhic Sources 285
Glossary 287
Index 289
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