The Prophetess: Greta Thunberg, Global Warming, and the Legacy of Prophecy in Our Own Day by Jill Hammer

My community and many others have been watching in awe as Greta Thunberg makes waves around the world—her lone climate change protest in Sweden growing in a single year into a climate strike with millions of demonstrators around the world.  Of course, Greta isn’t asking us to listen to her.  She is asking us to listen to the science that will save us.  And Greta is not alone: there are young indigenous female protesters like performance poet and peace activist Lyla June Johnston of the Dine (Navajo) and Tsetsehestahese (Cheyenne) peoples and water protector Autumn Peltier of the Anishnaabe people, who are speaking before the UN and in other public settings about global warming, and revitalizing our spiritual relationship with Mother Earth. Yet Greta knows that her fame (and her youth) gives her a platform. She is conscientiously using that platform to testify before Congress and the UN, Tweet, post on Facebook, and do whatever else she can do to make an impact.  Recently, I’ve noticed that some people in my home Jewish community, when they post about Greta on social media, have given her a nickname: they call her “the prophetess.”

This appellation has deep history.  The Hebrew word for prophet is navi, and the word for prophetess is neviah. These words come from the root nun-bet-alef which means to announce or proclaim.  At one event I attended, a woman enacting the role of a prophetess announced: “I am God’s microphone,” and that is what a navi or neviah does: amplify the voice of the sacred. Continue reading “The Prophetess: Greta Thunberg, Global Warming, and the Legacy of Prophecy in Our Own Day by Jill Hammer”

Silencing Miriam: Prophetess, Liberator, and Leader By Michele Stopera Freyhauf

The prophetess Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand, while all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing; and she led them in the refrain: Sing to the LORD, for he is gloriously triumphant; horse and chariot he has cast into the sea.”(NAB, Exodus 15:20-21)

The Song of Miriam is not a story of death and destruction, but rather liberation.  It is a poetic celebration of God’s liberation of the Israelites from the oppressive Egyptians, which, according to Bernhard W. Anderson in “The Song of Miriam Poetically and Theologically Considered,” marks the beginning of the Israelite tradition (292).  Phyllis Trible in “Bringing Miriam out of the Shadows” states that this act marks the end of the Exodus, which was started by Miriam, not Moses (169, 172).  The act of liberation reveals God’s action in humanity.  Gerald Janzen in Exodus believes this act also moved the Israelites “to fear the LORD and believe in the LORD and in his servant Moses” (109).  The uniqueness of this passage is that the most unlikely person leads – this person is not a man but rather a woman.

This brief passage in the Hebrew Scriptures is revelatory – Miriam is revealed for the first time.  She is a prophetess, Aaron’s sister, and the role of leader of the victory dance to honor the Divine Warrior.

Continue reading “Silencing Miriam: Prophetess, Liberator, and Leader By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”

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