Edited and with Introductions by Rabbi Debra Orenstein & Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman
Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in spirituality and religious texts, as well as an exciting expansion of women’s participation and leadership in Jewish life. This unique three-volume collaboration brings together women writers, rabbis, and scholars to create the first comprehensive work on Jewish lifecycle that fully includes women’s perspectives.
Lifecycles, V. 2 explores the impact that biblical texts have on our lives—and the impact our lives have on those texts. It delves into the human themes found both in the first five books of the Bible, and in women’s lives today, themes of:
Genesis—Our roots and beginnings, family and home
Exodus—Transformations to freedom, holiness, and Torah
Leviticus—Food and sacrifice, health and the body, sexuality, the power of words
Numbers—Creating community in timesof transition
Deuteronomy—Leadership, law, and revisioning the future
With a rich diversity of voices, the contributors show us how to understand the power of biblical texts, and then how to use those texts to find our own connections of self, spirit, and community.
Introductions by Orenstein and Litman offer a broader context for the concepts explored in each section, and an afterword provides further advice on “Engaging with Torah,” including a section on how to create a midrash. In a personal, insightful, and creative style, Lifecycles, V. 2 opens opportunities for us to grow from the intersection of the texts of our heritage and the lessons of our lives.
“An extraordinary collection...illuminates the Bible through the prism of the experience of Jewish women.... A ‘must’ for all who cherish serious Torah scholarship as it relates to the life experience of contemporary Jewish women and men.”
—Dr. Rela Mintz Geffen, professor of sociology, Gratz College; editor, Celebration and Renewal: Rites of Passage in Judaism
“A marvelous anthology of essays, poetry, text interpretation, and challenging insights which provides all readers, male and female alike, with a wealth of material to fortify us on our own spiritual journeys.”
—Norman J. Cohen, Provost, Hebrew Union College; author, Self, Struggle & Change: Family Conflict Stories in Genesis
“An indispensable resource for all people for whom the Hebrew Bible remains a privileged place to meet the Living God.”
—Dr. Rosemary Radford Ruether, Garrett Theological Seminary
“Both the process and content are extraordinary and transformative.... I did, and I imagine most people will, emerge richer as a human being.”
—Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Pathfinder of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal; author, Down-to-Earth Judaism and Godwrestling—Round 2
“This magnificent collection opens the Torah to women’s experience and opens women’s lives through the Torah.”
—Ann Swidler, professor of sociology, University of California at Berkeley; author, Talk of Love; co-author, Habits of the Heart and Inequality by Design
Rabbi Jane Rachel Litman serves Sha’ar Zahav in San Francisco, a congregation of people of diverse sexualities and family structures. She has taught on the faculty of California State University Northridge, the University of Judaism, and Loyola Marymount. She is active in many social action organizations, and is widely published in the fields of Jewish women’s history and contemporary theology. She lives in Northern California with her partner, Stewart Schwartz, and their two children, Sophie and Asher.
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