1st Edition

Celebrating the Lives of Jewish Women Patterns in a Feminist Sampler

    364 Pages
    by Routledge

    364 Pages
    by Routledge

    Jewish women of all ages and backgrounds come together in Celebrating the Lives of Jewish Women to explore and rejoice in what they have in common--their heritage. They reveal in striking personal stories how their Jewishness has shaped their identities and informed their experiences in innumerable, meaningful ways. Survivors, witnesses, defenders, innovators, and healers, these women question, celebrate, and transmit Jewish and feminist values in hopes that they might bridge the differences among Jewish women. They invite both Jewish and non-Jewish readers to share in their discussions and stories that convey and celebrate the multiplicity of Jewish backgrounds, attitudes, and issues.

    In Celebrating the Lives of Jewish Women, you will read about cultural, religious, and gender choices, conversion to Judaism, family patterns, Jewish immigrant experiences, the complexities of Jewish secular identities, antisemitism, sexism, and domestic violence in the Jewish community. As the pages unfold in this wonderful book of personal odysseys, the colorful patterns of Jewish women’s lives are laid before you. You will find much cause for rejoicing, as the authors weave together their compelling and unique stories about:

    • midlife Bat mitzvah preparations
    • the transmission of Jewish values by Sephardi and Ashkenazi grandmothers
    • traditional Sephardi customs
    • the sorrow and healing involved in coping with the Holocaust
    • a lesbian’s fascination with Kafka
    • the external and internal obstacles Jewish women encounter in their efforts to study Jewish topics and participate in Jewish ritual
    • becoming a Reconstructionist rabbi
    • the difficulties and benefits of being the teenaged daughter of a rabbi
    A harmonious chorus of individual voices, Celebrating the Lives of Jewish Women will delight and inspire Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. It reminds each of us how diverse and distinctive Jewish women’s lives are, as well as how united they can be under the wonderful fold of Judaism. This book will be of great interest to all women, as well as to rabbis, Jewish community leaders and professionals, mental health workers, and those in Jewish studies, women’s studies, and multicultural studies.

    Contents Foreword
    • Preface
    • Section I: From Generation to Generation: The Meanings of Mishpacha
    • Living in a Glass Bowl: Tales of a Rabbi’s Daughter
    • Bris, Britah: Parents’ First Lessons in Balancing Gender, Culture, Tradition, and Religion
    • Married--Without a Chupa
    • Queer Jewish Women Creating Families: New Perspectives on Jewish Family Values
    • Mothers, Judaism, and True Honor
    • Backwards and Forwards in America
    • Personal Reflections on Being a Grandmother: L’Chol Dor Va Dor
    • Section II: Wandering Jews: Lives Fractured by Geography
    • Jewish Identity Lost . . . and Found
    • Trials and Tribulations in the First Year of a “Mixed Sephardi/Ashkenazi Marriage”
    • The Joys of Mitsvoth
    • In Search of Eden
    • Family Memories and Grave Anxieties
    • Section III: The Journey Home
    • Really Jewish
    • You Don’t Know Me Because You Can Label Me: Self-Identity of an Orthodox Feminist
    • The Journey Home: Becoming a Reconstructionist Rabbi
    • Becoming Jewish
    • How Jewish Am I?
    • The Politics of Coming Home: Gender and Jewish Identities in the 1990s
    • Why Kafka? A Jewish Lesbian Feminist Asks Herself
    • Section IV: Eve and the Tree of Knowledge: Woman’s Place Among the People of the Book
    • “I Don’t Know Enough”: Jewish Women’s Learned Ignorance
    • Learning to Leyn
    • Better Late than Early: A Forty-Eight-Year-Old’s Bat Mitzvah Saga
    • Exploring Adolescent Jewish Female Identity: Reflections About Voice and Relation
    • First There Are Questions
    • Section V: Pain and Healing, Sorrow and Hope
    • Jewish Battered Women: Shalom Bayit or a Shonde?
    • Canadian Jewish Women and Their Experiences of Antisemitism and Sexism
    • We Are Not As We Were: Jewish Women After the Holocaust
    • Violent Legacies--Dialogues and Possibilities
    • Glossary
    • Index


    Esther D Rothblum, Rachel J Siegel, Ellen Cole