ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens

ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens


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What does it mean to re-vision Torah?

"I use the title ReVisions for this book because I want readers both to revise—in the classic definition of reexamine and alter—and to see the text anew, to have a new vision, a 'revision,' of Torah.... It begins with the notion that women see the text differently than men do, ask different questions and bring different answers.... This book is not about rewriting the Torah. It is about rereading it."
—from the Introduction

Rabbi Elyse Goldstein—woman, rabbi, scholar, and feminist—challenges and defends, rereads and reinterprets the ancient text, revealing to modern readers a way to see Judaism anew, for a new vision—a "revision"—of the Torah. Goldstein boldly brings the Torah into a contemporary context at the same time she honestly reconciles its past.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580231176
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 04/01/2001
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 2.17(w) x 3.35(h) x 0.62(d)

About 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

Table of Contents

Foreword by Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg

PART I. Women in the Torah
Power and Powerlessness
Male and Female Were They Created: Eve, Lilith and the Snake
Leah and Rachel: A Study in Relationships
The Women of the Exodus Story: A Study in Community
The Daughters of Tzelophehad

PART II. Blood and Water: The Stuff of Life
Blood and Its Symbolism in the Torah
Menstruation and the Laws of Niddah
A Jewish Feminist Reexamination of Menstruation
Blood and Men: A Feminist Look at Brit Milah
Women and Water in the Torah
A Feminist Reexamination of Mikveh

PART III. God, Goddess, Gender and the Torah
Searching for the Female Spirit in the Torah
Female Imagery and Paganism
The Place of the Goddess and Shekhinah in Judaism

Bibliography and Suggested Further Reading

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Revisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
LizzieD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought Revisions: Seeing Torah Through a Feminist Lens by Rabbi Elyse Goldstein a very interesting book! In it she is seeking authentic ways for women to read Torah as an integral part of their lives. She succeeds on many levels for me, a Protestant Christian. Briefly, her commentaries on several women in the Old Testament (Eve, Leah and Rachel, Miriam and the other women of the Exodus including Moses¿ wife Tzippora, and the daughters of Tzelophehad) are fresh and insightful. (Well, ¿ anything about the daughters of Tzelophehad would have been fresh for me.) Her next excursion into the symbolism and rituals of blood and water are less compelling to me, but still interesting. She advocates a repossession of the mikveh, the pool for cleansing, as a ritual for celebrating the renewal and blessing of menses as well as other important events in women¿s lives. Finally, she discusses gender language and the feminine attributes of God. Here, at the heart of her argument, I begin to feel some discomfort.I have no problem at all with her position that ¿Women of today need a meaningful religious vocabulary around our biology as well as around our concerns¿¿ (136). I have more problems with a quotation from Carol Christ, ¿As women struggle to create a new culture in which women¿s power, body, will, and bonds are celebrated, it seems natural that the Goddess would reemerge as symbol of the newfound beauty, strength, and power of women¿ (166). Goldstein pretty clearly is committed to discovering and interpreting the feminine element present in the God of the Torah. Christ seems to me to come from a different place, and (after all this), the question that interests me at the moment is how we attempt to create God in our own image. On the one hand, I have certainly encountered Christian leaders who claim that women are lesser beings than men - the whole ¿He for God; she for God in him¿ notion. I don¿t have to think very long to throw that out as unthinking traditionalism. I hope that leaves me with a transcendent and immanent being, larger than identity by gender while not discounting gender.What I wonder is how anybody deals with his god as he finds the traditional concepts too small, no longer addressing the reality of life as he lives it. Not to trivialize the question, but I¿m thinking now of science fiction writers like Neil Gaimon in *American Gods* or Scarlett Thomas in *The End of Mr.Y* where a god¿s power is limited by the number of people who still worship him. How does that address reality as we live it? I don¿t believe that the God of the Bible stands outside this conversation.