YENTL'S REVENGE: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism

Danya Ruttenberg, Editor, Susannah Heschel, Foreword by . Seal $16.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-58005-057-9

Ruttenberg, a San Francisco–based writer and contributing editor to the Jewish feminist journal Lilith, has assembled a provocative collection of impassioned essays by an unorthodox group of young Jewish feminists. The 20 writers wrestle with a wide range of issues—from mainstream concerns like identity and Zionism, to edgier ones such as witchcraft and transgender theory. Particularly challenging is Haviva Ner-David's "Parenting as a Religious Jewish Feminist." Having grown up feeling "marginalized and irrelevant," Ner-David is now studying with an Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem for rabbinic ordination. She prays with the male accouterments of phylacteries and prayer shawl, and has taken part in other traditionally male rituals. Attuned to the discomfort she produces in other observant Jews, she expresses ambivalence about imposing her customs on her daughters. Loolwa Khazzoom, a Jew of Iraqi descent, describes the alienation she felt sitting behind the women's prayer partition and in the face of condescension from Jews of European descent. Like the other writers here, instead of simply rejecting Judaism, Khazzoom is actively involved in redefining her Jewishness, currently working as program coordinator of the Jewish Multicultural Education Project when she is not singing and playing bass for her all-girls band. A left-wing religious Jew, Emily Wages takes on those progressive Jews who identify Judaism with oppression, patriarchy and xenophobia, while they honor other religions and cultures. With an upbeat foreword by noted Jewish scholar and feminist Susannah Heschel, this cutting-edge anthology is a welcome testament to how Jewish Gen-X women are finding their own distinctive voices. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/10/2001
Release date: 10/01/2001
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