The Torah portion for 20 August is Eikev, or Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25. Eikev describes the importance of spirituality in one’s life and proscribes the actions of spiritually-attuned people. The portion returns time and again to whom one should be spiritually connected:… Read More ›
Jewish amuletic objects come in many forms: salt, the hamsa or hand, the bowl, the scroll with verses, even sword-shaped amulets. These items are meant to provide spiritual protection from malevolent forces such as demons and the evil eye and… Read More ›
Author’s note: This post originally published on this website on March 11, 2018. How prescient it is. I live in Prague, about an 8 hour car-ride to the Ukrainian border. Over 300,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived here, with more arriving… Read More ›
The parshah for this upcoming Shabbat is Tzav (Leviticus 6:1-8:36). It details the investiture of Aaron and his sons into the priesthood and lays out the basics of various offerings (mostly, although not exclusively, animal sacrifices) and the rules regarding… Read More ›
This week’s Torah portion is Ki Tisa, Exodus 30:11-34:35. Its events revolve around the theme of creation, destruction, and recreation. From a feminist perspective, it is quite clear that this cyclical process is a result of a patriarchal understanding of… Read More ›
It is tempting to read these recurring images of milk twins in Arab-Jewish literature as no more than a symbol, albeit a powerful one, of the profoundly intimate “brother- (and sister-)hood” of Jews and Muslims in the pre-partition culture of the Middle East and North Africa.
But the image of “milk twins” is much more than a metaphor or a symbol: it represents a reality. For it seems that many Jewish and Muslim women, living side by side as they did, had in fact regularly nursed one another’s children.
This month’s blog post marks my 10-year anniversary writing for feminismandreligion.com (FAR) and my 122nd post. I would just like to take a moment to acknowledge this milestone and thank the community for both its dialogue with me and support… Read More ›
This week’s Torah portion is Vayechi, or Genesis 47:28-50:26. It is the last part of the Joseph saga (For my thoughts on two other parshot relating to Joseph, see Mikeitz and Vayigash). While there is much that could be said,… Read More ›
On our table, the crimson pomegranate seeds my mother had carefully separated from the skin glistened like jewels illumined from within; a pale green jam made from the grated flesh of a gourd, scented with rosewater and studded with thin slivers of blanched almonds, shone with a numinous, interior light. Bowls of black-eyed peas simmered with cinnamon and tomatoes were arrayed beside a delicately-flavored leek omelet, breaded and fried brains, roasted beets, fresh dates, apples, and—best of all—a previously untasted new fruit of the season: usually fresh fig or persimmon or prickly pear.
This post is dedicated to Carol P. Christ. I knew her first as my professor and then my friend for over 15 years. May her memory be a blessing. This week’s Torah portion is Shofetim (also spelt Shoftim), or Deutoronomy… Read More ›
This week’s Torah portion is Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22). In it, the Isrealites are preparing to enter the Promised Land, as the last of the sinful generation have died. Most of the parshah consists of Moses recalling the divinely sanctioned wars… Read More ›
This week’s Torah portion is Chukat. It covers a lot of ground. There are the mitzvot concerning purification with a red cow, the deaths of important individuals, and the continued wanderings in the desert, which are rife with complaining Israelites,… Read More ›
This week’s Torah portion is Bamidbar (Numbers 1:1-4:20). Mostly, it concerns itself with: a census; the organization of the Isrealites in camp as well as while traveling; who is responsible for which parts of the Tabernacle; and the redemption of… Read More ›
It is often said that every year when you read the same Torah passages, you are in a different place, spiritually and otherwise. Therefore, one will always be learning new meanings and discovering new insights from them. No more is… Read More ›
The first time I came across the phrase, I thought I must be making a mistake. “Que Dieu l’enveloppe dans sa matrice,” the passage read in French, “May God’s womb enfold her.” or possibly, “May God enfold her in His womb.” His womb?
It is Hanukah. I have discussed the reasons I have found observing it difficult in a past blog. Namely, as an ecofeminist, I will not celebrate the violence of war or the slaughter of animals at the temple. This year… Read More ›
This year, I published a book called Return to the Place: The Magic, Meditation, and Mystery of Sefer Yetzirah (available from Ben Yehuda Press, benyehudapress.com). Sefer Yetzirah, or the Book of Creation, is an ancient Jewish mystical work (written in… Read More ›
One of the basic tenants of feminist methodology in religion is the recovery of women’s history. There are many ways to approach such a task. In religions with sacred writings, one avenue for recovery may be reinterpreting them. This… Read More ›
The Torah reading for the first day of Rosh haShanah, the Jewish new year, is not, as one might expect, the creation of the world (Rosh haShanah was Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, 9/18-9/20). Instead, the set reading is Genesis… Read More ›
On the eve of the Jewish Sabbath and the start of Rosh Hashanah, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg breathed her last breath. She was 87. She fought so hard for so long. She is an American patriot, hero, champion… Read More ›
Toward the end of her complex odyssey, Anna finds herself alone in an ancient Istanbul synagogue, where at long last she unreservedly “name[s] herself” a Jew and experiences connection with a God that “fuse[s] both male and female” and “from that wholeness birth[s] mercy and love.” Vowing to work to “help repair [the] world”–tikkun olam–she moves forward to face her life with a “sense of wholeness” that had eluded her for so long.
Jill Hammer’s recent post on midrash surrounding the Biblical figure of Eve (Hava in Hebrew) sparked me to muse again about the fact that, despite its patriarchal roots and overlay, Judaism is a much more flexible tradition than Christianity and,… Read More ›
Around the age of 8, or maybe 10, I learned my aunt had had a hysterectomy. I remember visiting her house either shortly before or after the operation. I can’t remember which, and it doesn’t really matter. At the time,… Read More ›