Today's CSM has an excellent review article written by Jane Lampman on The Torah: A Women's Commentary:
The editor of the commentary, Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, recalls how some responded to the December release.
"An 80-year-old woman, embracing her copy, said, 'I've been waiting for this all my life.' And a young woman told me, 'For the first time, I am included in the conversation,'" Dr. Eskenazi says.
One of the stories that highlight the import of biblical women begins in Numbers 27. Five sisters challenge an inheritance practice that would deprive them of their father's land. They speak to Moses and the entire leadership.
"Moses speaks to God and God responds that these five daughters speak rightly," Eskenazi says. "This is an extraordinary moment. It is the only time in the Pentateuch that a law is initiated by people, rather than God, and it becomes a 'law from Sinai,' binding for all future generations."
For the women of Reform Judaism, this is just what they have done – insist on their share – not of land, but in inheriting the Torah and participating in the ongoing Jewish conversation.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
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