Kaddish: Women’s Voices

Conceived by Barbara Ashkenas. Urim (IPG, dist.), $27.95 (272p) ISBN 978-965-524-150-1
This collection of 52 articulate essays, edited by Teva Learning Center founder Smart, ostensibly represents a broad sampling of Jewish women’s experiences with traditional mourning rituals. Nonetheless, while the contributors include Conservative and Reform women, including two female rabbis, and women from other Orthodox groups, the collection is dominated and framed by modern Orthodox concerns and sensibilities. The struggle of Orthodox women to say Kaddish despite entrenched opposition lies in the conflict between gender equality and Orthodox religious law, where feminism is considered a foreign and potentially threatening force. Paradoxically, while the Kaddish is about submission to God’s sovereignty, these women do not submit to the common Orthodox view, which bars public recitation by women. The apparent paradox is resolved in their demonstrations that the struggle is not a feminist cause per se, but does justice to the communal Kaddish as essential to Jewish mourning and honoring the deceased. Kaddish is a religious need, and, as discipline and source of comfort, as crucial for a Jewish woman as it is for a Jewish man. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/14/2013
Release date: 11/01/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 268 pages - 978-965-524-173-0
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