In this section, you'll find a wide variety of material, from the
strongly feminist perspectives of Reform Judaism to the more traditional
perspectives of Orthodoxy, with a few more general books relating to feminism
and women-and-religion in general. Use caution when selecting, and I always
welcome annotations to further help the readers. Many of these suggestions come
from a reading list developed by Rabbi Shira Stern, originally published in
v4n60 of the Liberal Judaism Mailing
Biale, Rachel. Women & Jewish Law: An Exploration Of
Women's Issues In Halakhic Sources. New York : Schocken Books, 1984.
[This book does a nice overview of various portions of Jewish law and how it
applies to women. I have only briefly read a few parts but it is a good
reference and overview.]
Biale, Rachel. Women and Jewish Law: The Essential Texts, Their
History, and Their Relevance for Today. Schocken Books; 1995. Paperback.
Fishman, Sylvia Barack. A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American
Jewish Community (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and
Life). Maxwell Macmillan International, c1993. Brandeis Univ; 1995.
Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-874517-06-0. [The challenge of being
Feminist and Jewish in America. Touches on all sorts of issues (Ritual,
Frankiel, Tamar. The Voice of Sarah: Feminine Spirituality and
Traditional Judaism. Harpercollins; 1992. Biblio Pr; 1997. Paperback.
Reprint edition. ISBN 0-930395-22-0. [A feminist and observant Jew wrestles
with the Jewish feminine mystique].
Frankel, Ellen. The Five Books of Miriam; A Woman's Commentary on
the Torah. 1996. Hardcover. Putnam Pub Group; 1996. ISBN 0-399141-95-2.
Goldstein, Elyse. The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from
Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Jewish Lights Pub; August
2000. Hardcover. ISBN 1-580230-76-8. [In this book, more than 50 women rabbis
come together to offer their own inspiring commentaries on the Torah, following
the traditional weekly reading.]
Gottlieb, Lynn. She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of a
Renewed Judaism. Harper San Francisco; 1995. Paperback. ISBN
Greenberg, Blu. On Women and Judaism: A View From
Tradition. Jewish Publication Society; 1981, 1994. Paperback. ISBN
Greenberg, Blu. How to Run a Traditional Jewish
Household. Simon and Schuster, New York. 1983, 1985. Paperback. ISBN
0-671602-70-5. [A book on Jewish home rituals and Blu's experiences and
techniques. Blu is also a Feminist.]
Goldstein, Elyse. ReVisions: Seeing Torah Through a Feminist Lens.
Jewish Lights Pub; 1999. Hardcover. ISBN 1-580230-47-4.
Grossman, Susan; Haut, Rivka (ed). Daughters of the King: Women
and the Synagogue. Jewish Publication Society; 1992, 1994. Paperback. ISBN
Handelman, Susan (Editor); Elper,Ora Wiskind (Editor). Torah of
the Mothers : Contemporary Jewish Women Read Classical Jewish Texts. Lambda
Pub Inc; 2000. Hardcover. ISBN 9-657108-23-3. [A collection of essays and
teachings culled from years of Bible and Jewish study by highly accomplished
women Torah scholars and educators. Each contributor brings her own area of
expertise to bear, providing novel and refreshing insights into biblical and
rabbinic texts. Each also offers thought-provoking commentary on the ever
present themes of exile and redemption, which are intrinsic to the ongoing saga
of the Jewish people.]
Harris, Lis. Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family. Collier
Books, 1985, 1986. MacMillan Publishing Company; 1995. Paperback. ISBN
0-684813-66-1. [Lis Harris goes and visits a Hasidic family. She writes about
what she learns and sees. It gives some of the history of the Lubavicher
movement, some of the experiences of the holidays, and some of the every day
experiences. It is a well written book.]
Hauptman, Judith. Rereading the Rabbis : A Woman's
Voice. Westview Press, 1998, 1999. Paperback. ISBN 0-813334-06-3.
[Acknowledging that Judaism, as described in both the Bible and the Talmud, was
patriarchal, Hauptman demonstrates that the rabbis of the Talmud made
significant changes in key areas of Jewish law in order to benefit women.
Reading the texts with feminist sensibilities, the author shows that although
the rabbis whose rulings are recorded in the Talmud did not achieve full
equality for women they should be credited with giving women higher status and
more rights. Rather than plucking passages from a variety of different
rabbinical works and sewing them together to produce an artificial, unified
point of view, Hauptman reads sources in their own literary and legal context
and then considers them in relationship to a rich array of associated
Henry, Sondra; Taitz, Emily. Written Out of History: Our Jewish
Foremothers. Biblio Pr; 1988, 1997. Paperback. ISBN 0-930395-10-7.
Heschel, Susannah. On Being a Jewish Feminist. Schocken Books;
1983, 1995. Paperback reprint edition. ISBN 0-805210-36-9. [Graphically
demonstrates how Judaism is broken with respect to feminism, and presents the
writers belief how this can be addressed within Halacha]
Hyman, Naomi M. (ed). Biblical Women in the Midrash: A
Sourcebook. Jason Aronson; 1997. Hardcover. ISBN 1-568219-50-4.
Kantrowitz, Melanie Kaye (ed.); Klepfisz, Irena (ed.). The Tribe
of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology. Sinister Wisdom 29/30; 1986. Beacon
Pr; 1989. Paperback. Revised and expanded edition. ISBN 0-807036-05-6.
Katex, Judith A. (ed); Reimer, Gail Twersky (ed). Reading Ruth:
Contemporary Women Reclaim a Sacred Story. Jewish Lights Pub; 1997.
Hardcover. Volume 2. ISBN 1-879045-15-X.
Kaufman, Michael. The Woman in Jewish Law and Tradition.
Unknown; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 1-568216-24-6.
Klirs, Tracy Guren; Selavan, Ida Cohen. The Merit of Our Mothers:
A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women's Prayers (Jewish Perspectives, Vol
5). Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. Wayne State Univ Pr; 1999. Paperback.
ISBN 0-814327-33-8. [Reform]
Koltun, Elizabeth (editor). The Jewish Woman: New
Perspectives. New York : Schocken Books, 1976. ISBN 0-805205-32-2. Out
of print. [Collection of writings on women and Judaism. Feminist perspective.]
Kornbluth, Doron (Editor); Kornbluth, Sarah Tikvah (Editor).
Jewish Women Speak About Jewish Matters. Feldheim Publishers; 2000.
Paperback. ISBN 1-568711-51-4. [Twenty-five female contributors from around the
world speak about various topics within the sections of "Body and Soul,"
"Spiritual Matters," "Biblical Texts," "Gender and Roles," and "Jewish Women
Past and Present."]
Ochs, Vanessa. Words on Fire: One Woman's Journey Into The
Sacred. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990. Westview Press; 1999.
Paperback. ISBN 0-813367-18-2. [Story of Vanessa Ochs experience in going to
Israel and deciding to study Tanach in Orthodox offerings. It teaches bits of
torah and talmud as you go along and also brings up some of the issues she had
with the Orthodox communities. (I believe she identifies herself as
Orenstein, Debra (ed). Lifecycles V. 1: Jewish Women on Life
Passages and Personal Milestones. Jewish Lights Pub; 1994. Hardcover. ISBN
1-879045-14-1. [Non-Orthodox point of view].
Orenstein, Debra (ed); Litman, Jane Rachel (ed). Lifecycles V. 2:
Jewish Women on Biblical Themes in Contemporary Life. Jewish Lights Pub;
1997. Hardcover. ISBN 1-879045-15-X.
Orenstein, Walter. Letters to My Daughter: A Father Writes About
Torah and the Jewish Woman. Jason Aronson; 1995. Hardcover. ISBN
Orsborn, Carol. Return from Exile: One Woman's Journey Back to
Judaism. Continuum Pub Group; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-826411-02-9.
Zones, Jane Sprague, ed. Taking the Fruit: Modern Women's
Tales of the Bible. San Diego: Women's Institute for Continuing
Education, 1981, 1990. Paperback. 2nd ed. ISBN 0-960805-48-6.
There are other books relating to traditional views of the womens role
in family life to be found in the "LIFE, DEATH, AND IN-BETWEEN", of the reading list (the
goal is to keep this list useful for its readers. To that end, suggestions of
books to add to the list are always welcome. In your suggestion, please be as
complete as possible; we need author, title, publisher, publishing date, and
ISBN number. We also welcome a one paragraph short summary of why the
book is of interest. Please send your suggestions to the FAQ maintainer at
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