Words on Fire: One Woman's Journey Into the Sacred

Vanessa L. Ochs, Author
Vanessa L. Ochs, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $22.95 (328p) ISBN 978-0-15-198380-3
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Believing she was living an ``unsanctified life'' that might be the underlying cause of her numerous physical ailments, Ochs went to Jerusalem to study sacred Jewish texts. A feminist who had taught writing at Yale, she approached her odyssey with ambivalence, troubled by the sexist bias in traditional, male-dominated Torah studies. But female scholars and seekers became her role models in Israel, making her realize that women can play an active role in Jewish learning and observance if they ``open Torah wide and seize it for themselves.'' As Ochs forged an emotional connection to the Torah and the Talmud, her illnesses vanished and her faith deepened. Her observations on Israel's nascent feminist movement, and the personal narratives of the women she encountered, are interwoven into this deeply felt spiritual journey. (May)
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