June 24, 2019

Meet the 2018 HBI Gilda Slifka Summer Interns

By Lily Fisher Gomberg

Every summer, HBI welcomes interns from across the country and world who complete original research related to the HBI mission of fresh thinking about Jews and gender worldwide and support the work of scholars affiliated with HBI and Brandeis. During the eight-week program, the interns also attend educational lunch sessions with scholars, visit Jewish sites of interest in the Greater Boston area including Mayyim Hayyim, and a walking tour of Jewish Boston. The Gilda Slifka HBI Summer Internship is supported by a generous gift from Gilda Slifka. Meet the 2018 interns and their work.

LILY FISHER GOMBERG is a rising junior at Brandeis University with a major in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and minors in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and History. This summer, she is working on a project about what makes erotica and erotic writing Jewish, and what impact Jewish erotica has on sexuality education for Jews. Gomberg is also the blog assistant at the HBI’s blog, Fresh Ideas,  so keep an eye on the blog for more of her thoughts on Jewish women and gender. After her graduation, Gomberg plans to work on medically-accurate, halachically-acceptable sexuality education programming for pluralistic Jewish day schools, and then attend Reconstructing Judaism to become a rabbi and engage in pastoral counseling. Gomberg hopes that her internship at HBI will give her more depth of understanding of the specific issues facing Jewish Women in an academic sense, and she can’t wait to learn with everyone at HBI.

REBECCA HERSCH is a rising senior at Brandeis University with majors in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Sociology, and a minor in Religious Studies. She just returned from a semester abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. This summer, Hersch will begin research on her senior thesis. She is studying the ways that feminist and gender perspectives structure interfaith dialogue, especially in the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, and organization that builds bridges between Jewish and muslim women, and she is seeking to reconsider interfaith dialogue from a feminist perspective. She will also be working with Jenny Sartori of the Jewish Women’s Archive (JWA) on a revitalization project of the online Encyclopedia of Jewish Women at the JWA. After she graduates, Hersch hopes to become a professor of sociology, and study the intersection of Jewish studies with sociology.

NAIMA HIRSCH just completed her third semester at Hunter College with majors in English and Elementary Education and a minor in Women and Gender Studies. This summer, she will follow a passion for poetry that she has had since the age of six. At HBI, she will work on a poetry chapbook with poems about the different ways that she interacts with her identities as a Jew and as a woman. She is excited to explore the ways in which her other identities fall into these categories, and to continue to write poetry. Hirsch will also work with Penina Adelman of the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis on her fictionalized family memoir titled Rebels in the Family. She is currently researching the experience of steerage passengers traveling from Russia to Ellis Island, to help Adelman write about her family’s experience on that voyage. After university, Hirsch hopes to attend rabbinical school, as well as work with Klal Yisrael and teach Torah to children.

LAURA KATZ is a rising senior at Brandeis University with majors in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Theatre Arts, and a minor in Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation (CAST). This summer, she plans to research Jewish women and poetry, and analyze Rachel the Poetess’ poetry through the lens of feminist texts and theory. Laura believes that this is important because poetry can save the lives of women, so she believes writing poetry to be a great feminist act. Also at HBI this summer, she will work with Dalia Wassner, a research associate at HBI, on her project Mariana Yampolsky’s Mexican Art: Captured Moments in Latin America’s Socialist Landscape. The project focuses on the Mexican renaissance that occurred after the revolution, and especially on photographer Mariana Yampolsky. It is especially important to Katz because she just returned from a semester abroad in Latin America. After her graduation, Katz hopes to become a reform rabbi and use the pulpit to talk about social issues and to harness the power of the Jewish community. As a rabbi and Jewish educator, Katz also hopes to involve theatre/creative arts skills to help people reconnect with their Judaism.

ARIELLA BECK LEVISOHN is a rising senior at Brandeis University, with majors in Biology, Health Science Society and Policy, and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She just returned from Copenhagen, where she spent a semester abroad for Health Science Society & Policy. This summer she will begin work on her senior thesis in the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department, which will be on sexuality education in Modern Orthodox high schools. Her research at HBI will focus on finding the existing literature and interviews. In the fall, she plans to conduct original interviews. This project is inspired by her high school senior independent project about how her school, Gann Academy, taught sexuality education. She is currently working with a teacher from her high school on a follow-up project for the women’s minyan at Gann Academy. This summer, she will also work with Rabbi Benjamin Samuels of her home congregation, Shaarei Tefillah, on his project Is this Baby Jewish? Rabbinic Law Examines Assisted Reproductive Technologies. The project, which is about assisted reproductive technology and halachic responses, is a perfect intersection of Levisohn’s interests in women’s health and fertility and Judaism. After she graduates, she hopes to work in public health for several years before going back to school for a joint degree in public health and medicine.

SAMANTHA PICKETTE is a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University in the American Studies department, with strong ties to the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. Her dissertation is about stereotypes of Jewish women in 20th-century American literature and film, and this summer she plans to write the third chapter. That chapter will focus on three novels written by Jewish women in the 1970s which work to undermine the definition of the “Jewish American princess” and the “Jewish mother” that Philip Roth established and thus give Jewish women a voice. The three books that she will focus on are Sheila Levine is Dead and Living in New York by Gail Parent, The Launching of Barbara Fabrikant by Louise Blecher Rose, and Fat Emily by Susan Ries. This summer, Pickette will also work with Brandeis Professor Sylvia Fishman on her project The Intersection of Gender and Jewishness in The New Wave of American Jewish Writers, which is a series of articles, organized thematically, on younger American Jewish writers who are writing about Jewish topics. After she completes her PhD, Pickette hopes to become a professor to combine her love of reading, writing, and researching with her love of teaching.

ALI SENAL just graduated from Muhlenberg College with majors in Jewish Studies and Theatre, with a concentration in Acting. At HBI, she will continue work on a photostory of Orthodox synagogues based on location of mechitza, and mapping performance of religious identity in Orthodox women. To make her project more accessible, she plans to create a website, as well as short write-ups of pieces of the project. This summer, Senal will also work with Brandeis Professor Laura Jockusch on her project A Victim of Her Time: The Lives of Stella Goldschlag – Gestapo Informer and Holocaust Survivor. This project will ultimately be a memoir of Stella Goldschlag’s life through trials, and argue that Goldschlag was convicted because she was Jewish, because she was a woman, and because the testimony against her was emotional testimony from victims. Senal will contribute to the project by finding literature, and by transcribing the non-German testimonies against Goldschlag. This fall she hopes to work as a Jewish professional, and in the near future she plans to go back to school for a master’s in Jewish studies and a doctorate in performance studies.

ELENA SILESKY just completed her second of three semesters as a master’s student at Brandeis University in the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program. She is beginning work this summer on her thesis, which will be an oral history of the Sephardic Jewish community in Seattle, WA focusing on the role of the Sephardic women in the community in maintaining traditions and roles. Silesky grew up in this community, although not Orthodox, and she is excited to learn more about the third-largest Sephardic community in the United States. She will also work with Hadassah-Brandeis Institute Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe to build a class called Jewish Feminisms and Legal Theory. Once Silesky completes her master’s, she hopes to return to Seattle and work either with a non-profit organization or continue with academia.

Lily Fisher Gomberg is the summer blogger for Fresh Ideas. She is a rising junior at Brandeis University. 

A Fringe of Her Own: An Interview with Tamar Paley

Editor’s Note: Judith Rosenbaum, executive director of the Jewish Women’s Archive, interviewed Tamar Paley, an Israeli artist and jewelry designer, about her project, A Fringe of Her Own: A Collection of Ritual Objects for Women currently on view at the Kniznick Gallery at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute in Waltham, Massachusetts.Reprinted with permission from the Jewish Women’s Archive. You can read the original article in its entirety here.

Tell us about your background.

I grew up in Jerusalem in a very progressive community. As a teen, I began to understand that my experience was unusual. The fact that I had a bat mitzvah in which I read from the Torah and made my own tallit––these were not things that other girls were doing. For my friends and me, the uniqueness of our experience as Progressive Jews in Israel became a big part of our identities.

Ever since high school, Judaism has been part of my art. I was an art major in high school and even then, I would be creating pieces and suddenly incorporating all kinds of biblical verses. When I started to study jewelry design, I kind of kept my religious identity on the down low. My school, Shankar, is a very secular, liberal, artsy place where we just didn’t talk about Judaism.

As I was approaching my final year of school and starting to think about my thesis project, I decided I wanted to use this opportunity to say something about issues that matter to me. And it just hit me: I’m going to make ritual objects for women. I’d get to talk about feminism and women’s issues and religious pluralism, and I’d do it through objects that connect to the body. That tied together everything I’d been studying about jewelry design and using different materials and Jewish text and all these things that I love. It was just perfect.

Some of my teachers, though, were surprised. They said, “Oh, you’re religious? How did we not know that? And if you’re not religious, why do you care about ritual objects?” I explained that these are issues that I think about and care about a lot. I’m not religious in the way that they understand that identity, but I do feel deeply connected to Judaism––it’s a big part of my life. It felt like I was coming out as a Progressive Jewish woman.

How do you understand the relationship between jewelry and ritual objects?

I like the connection between ritual objects and silversmithing. It goes way back––kiddush cups and candlesticks and menorahs and all that. So the craft within this field of ritual objects has always been there. But the objects that I chose to work with were mainly those that you wear: tallit (prayer shawl), tzizit (ritual fringes), and tefillin (phylacteries). I chose these pieces because they are the most controversial for women. The ritual objects that we use in the home are a little less gendered and more widely used among women. But we still have a hard time with the ones that are worn in public and on the body. And that really tied in with jewelry: how does this object that I choose to wear affect me and how I am choosing to present myself? How can I wear it and where can I wear it?

"CHEST TEFILLIN"

Silver 925, Lucite, Printed textile, gold foil, printed parchment. Photographed by Ya Studio – Yasmin & Arye Photographers

 

From a technical perspective, I took apart these ritual objects and rebuilt them to be modern and desirable––something that a woman would see and want to wear. I wanted to take away the controversy surrounding these objects. For me personally––even as a woman who grew up in a really progressive environment––I have a hard time wearing a kippah or putting on tefillin, so I wanted to understand my own discomfort and offer some alternatives.

What was your process in creating the objects?

I started from the conceptual: if women had a say in the creation of these ritual objects, how would they look and feel? I began by trying to figure out how women around me today are experiencing their spirituality. And as a jewelry designer, I was also thinking about how this material feels on the body, where it is worn, what are the gestures that come with wearing this object.

I wanted to give a voice to all the different ways that women in my life are experiencing their Judaism. And I wanted to reevaluate what these objects mean and find out what’s relevant about them. So I sent out a questionnaire of ten questions to women in my network. I tried to get as wide a range of answers as possible. Receiving their responses was amazing! I was so overwhelmed and moved by everything these women wrote. The biggest takeaway was that many women experience their Judaism in a private, inner way. I asked the question “If you could create a ritual object for yourself, what would it be?” A lot of women said it would be something they could keep private or expose at their will. So that’s why I started to create containers for the texts, and to focus on inner parts of the body, like the inner arm. For example, on the tallit piece ––where the text of the atara (the collar) is usually on the outside, in my piece it’s on the inside. I also played with typography so that the text wouldn’t be immediately legible.

All the texts that I use are pieces that women sent to me. Many are texts about gratitude and thankfulness, and also a lot of texts about guarding or protecting––which is really interesting considering the rise of #MeToo. It was also important to me to change all the text into language that was gendered feminine.

I thought a lot about the material, too. I searched for sources that dictated the requirements for the materials of ritual objects––you know, that would say, “this needs to be made out of leather” and have these specific dimensions. But I didn’t find many of those. The original texts say things like “it should be a sign on your hand and a sign between your eyes” but we don’t necessarily have more guidelines for what it should look like. So that gave me permission to make changes. Maybe leather straps aren’t relevant anymore, in a time when not everyone is comfortable wearing leather.

Am I changing the essence of these ritual objects by changing their form? Can I feel more comfortable with the meaning of an object just by redesigning it? These were the questions I asked myself as a designer. Maybe if I altered the shape or the material, I could allow someone to reconnect with these objects. It may sound kitschy, but I believe I can make social change through my design.

To continue reading, click here.

“A Fringe of Her Own” is on exhibit at the Kniznick Gallery at Brandeis through June 22, 2018

In Judaism, Death, as Life, is with People

This is reprinted with the author’s permission from the Arizona Jewish Post.

By Gila Silverman

My mother died a day before Shavuot, two years ago. Three months later, at Yom Kippur services, I knew that I was finally an adult (at age 49) because, for the first time ever, I stayed in the sanctuary for the Yizkor memorial service. A year ago, at Passover, after making her recipes without her, I sobbed through Yizkor, painfully aware that I was sitting in her seat at her synagogue and she should have been there.

This year, during Passover Yizkor, to my great surprise, I found myself crying again, because it hit me — yet again, but as if for the first time — that for the rest of my life, I will be staying in the room for Yizkor, that I will always now be among the mourners. In an article reflecting on her 50-year career as a bereavement researcher, my mother wrote: “It became simpler when I stopped thinking of grief as an illness that ends. In its own way, grief lasts a lifetime. There is no universal or fixed schedule for grieving…. Children tell us that their grief changes as they mature. However, the death of a parent is with them for the rest of their lives.” My mother knew this from her research; she also knew it from Jewish tradition.

Jewish mourning is guided by two principles — kavod hamet and nichum aveilim — honoring the dead and comforting the mourners. Neither of these can be done alone. Like so much of Jewish life, we need other people to respond Jewishly to death. A well-known book describing life in the shtetls is called “Life is with People.” And from a Jewish perspective, death is also with people.  Mourning is by definition a lonely experience, as we try to adjust to a life without someone who was important to us. But Judaism ensures that we are not alone throughout this process. From the moment of death, actually from the moments preceding death, through the funeral, and the shiva, through the month or year of saying kaddish, and to the ongoing rememberings of yahrzeit and Yizkor, if we mourn as Jews, we don’t do so alone. In fact, we can’t do so alone.

This week, as I mark the completion of my second year without my mother, I will light a yahrzeit candle and make my way to a minyan to say kaddish. Then, a few days later, I will go back to the synagogue and, once again, stay in the room for Yizkor. The Yizkor prayers remind us that even after someone dies, they too are still “with people” ­­— their memories are still with us and they are still part of our communities. On this day, as we celebrate receiving the Torah that made us a people, we will also remember those who have come before us, and those who are no longer with us. We will recite the names of our dead, and give them a place in the community and in our prayers, knowing that who we are, and who we will be, incorporates them too.

My mother spent her professional life studying the mourning process. She taught that grief is not a process of letting go or of moving on; rather, it is a process of accommodating to a new life, and finding a way to continue a relationship with someone who is no longer physically present. We are lucky that Judaism provides us with a clear guide for how to do that. Five times a year — on the yahrzeit, and during the Yizkor services at Yom Kippur, Shemini Atzeret, Pesach and Shavuot — we officially pause to acknowledge those continuing relationships, and to bring them into our community’s sacred gathering. In our quiet moments alone at home, most of us remember, every day, those who have died. But because Jewish life is with people, we also need to remember them when we are together. Unlike mainstream America, where grief is supposed to be a private process, from which we “recover” quickly, Judaism recognizes that grief is a normal part of human life, which lasts throughout our lifetimes, and which we do not try to hide or run away from.

As we come together this week, to celebrate the Torah and to remember our ancestors, both personal and communal, may those relationships continue to enrich and guide our lives. May the souls of all those we love be bound up in the web of life, and may all of their memories be a blessing to us.

Gila Silverman, a 2017 HBI Scholar-in-Residence, is a research associate at The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, Brandeis University, and a visiting scholar at the Arizona Center for Judaic Studies.

 

 

The Literary Equivalent of Eavesdropping

Note: This is one of an occasional profile of the expanding Jewish-Feminist collections at The Archives & Special Collections at the Brandeis Goldfarb Library. We previously wrote about the Lilith collection

By Violet Fearon

Before I gain access to the carefully stored correspondence of Esther M. Broner, I’m given a few instructions: no pen, keep the documents flat on the table at all times, file everything back exactly in the order you found it. In this quiet room, filled with books and cardboard boxes, it feels a little like I’m about to undertake some kind of secret mission. The first letter I examine is dated from the early 60s; it feels brittle and thin. Even if I hadn’t been briefed on proper handling procedure, there’s something about old paper that tells you to treat it with care.

As I place the designated cardboard marker in the box to hold the document’s place, two women across the room are having an intense whispered conversation. Their low voices mean it is something I am not supposed to hear; a private conversation. At the back of my brain – and I don’t think I’m alone in this – is a curiosity. We all want to be privy to things not meant for us.

Maybe that’s why I was excited to come here. Reading correspondence is, after all, the literary equivalent of eavesdropping. There’s a sense that you’re being a little sneaky – a little bit of a busybody. And, if I’m honest with myself, that’s where most of the fun of the whole endeavor comes from. You are reading something not meant for your eyes, something intended to be kept to the confines of friends and family. All of a sudden, the famous figures I remember reading about who instructed their diaries and letters to be burnt upon their deaths suddenly seemed like very forward-thinking individuals.

First, a little backstory. Esther M. Broner was a Jewish American author, whose works focused on fusing her feminism with her faith. She wrote ten books, among them renowned works like A Weave of Women and The Women’s Haggadah, which largely revolved around themes of creating new, women-centric Jewish rituals – forging a feminist identity within the confines of religion and tradition. In 1976, she held the first all-female Passover seder on the floor of her NYC apartment, surrounded by a horde of plants, with women such as Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Gloria Steinem (the founders of Ms. Magazine) in attendance.

In her correspondence, some of what I found was expected: evidence of a woman with an intense focus on Judaism and feminism (or, in her own words in a letter to a friend, “my Jewish thing”). But I also found something else – something that makes correspondence uniquely valuable to researchers: a human being. There is joy when babies are born, and sadness when relatives die. She commiserates with friends over the incompetency of various politicians. During a visit to London, there’s musings on her love for the picturesque gardens, though some cultural frustrations that still ring true today (“The British are quite relaxed, and to the impatient American it can be somewhat exasperating – it’s always “Would you have another cup of tea,” when you’re trying to get a steady stream of work done.”). A letter from a friend, Susan, who tells Broner to never forget to be cheeky, because “sass is so fine”. A note from a writing mentor, Professor Edward Albee, to “Work hard – you are so good.” Albee also talks about the process of writing his latest play; he hasn’t settled on a title yet, but he likes the sound of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

When we study an author’s works, it’s easy to see them as static creations – things that were always there, or that were summoned into creation in some frenzy of creativity. In reality, of course, writing is a long and gradual process, no matter who’s doing it. There’s no clearer way to find this out than by reading personal, casual writings. In a 1976 journal entry, Broner described the beginnings of the themes that would come to define her work, writing, “Michele and I talk about magic and the idea for my book becomes clearer – a ritual between women, holidays and rituals – births to deaths – and the weave of women who enact these occasions and what happens to them, Israelis and Americans – here and there – who live together and who returns, who dies by fire and who by hunger . . . I don’t like the idea of women and black magic – but women and ritual – and ritual deep in our roots and cultural origins, can organize the book.”

Working your way through years of a person’s life in the space of a few hours can be a strange experience. In the course of a few pages, her daughter, Nahama, has transformed from a little girl in the 1960s trying on trenchcoats and deciding to get her hair cut into “the most adorable bangs” to a 1970s teenager who “laughed nastily” at her father’s recounting of Esther and his honeymoon, prompting Esther to write a long passage on how difficult teenagers are.

(In the spirit of research, later I googled “Nahama Broner”, hoping to find some old family photographs so I could put faces to story. Instead, I found her RateMyProfessor page, with a stream of NYU undergraduates reviewing her skills in teaching psychology. She seems to be a very good professor, though now bereft of bangs).

In a way, it was much more – “disturbing” is too dramatic, but perhaps “perturbing” is the right word – than I expected, paging through decades of a life in a single afternoon. Years slip through your fingers; there is joy, then sadness, then anger, then joy again. In one of the earliest documents, Broner discusses an uncle who had just passed away; she muses over his life, wonders if he spent more time happy or sad. In closing, she writes: “And his death is painful because he had not realized all of his dreams. But then, who does?”

Violet Fearon, a freshman and Humanities Fellow,  is the HBI student blogger.

To learn more about the Jewish-Feminist collections or to make an appointment, contact Chloe Morse-Harding, Reference and Instruction Archivist, cmorseharding@brandeis.edu / 781-736-4657.

Feminist Journey into Prayer

by Amy Sessler Powell

On Nov. 6, Marcia Falk will discuss and read from the new anniversary edition of The Book of Blessings as well as The Days Between. On Nov. 7, HBI Director Lisa Fishbayn Joffe will interview Falk in a live webinar, Conversations with Extraordinary Women. See below for details and webinar registration.

“Let us bless the source of life that brings forth bread from the earth,” or “Our praise to You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth”?

The first, a translated version of “hamotzi,” the Jewish blessing before the meal, comes from Marcia Falk’s Book of Blessings. The second is the traditional translation of the same prayer, in this case provided by ReformJudaism.org. It’s a simple, yet elegant example of Falk’s style of removing the patriarchal language from the liturgy.

The story of Falk’s engagement with writing prayer began several decades before she published her groundbreaking books including the The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival, now reissued in a 20th anniversary edition.

“The words of prayer have always mattered to me,” said Falk. “As a Jewish feminist in the 1970s and ‘80s, I thought it was important not just where and how we participate in synagogue life, but what we actually pray there. I had been a regular davener for years; I belonged to synagogues and attended services every Shabbat. I participated, gave drashot (talks about the Torah portion). But in the early 1980s, the liturgy was becoming more and more disturbing to me as a Jew and a feminist trying to live with integrity.

“I was in crisis. The liturgy wasn’t speaking for me, and in many ways I found it hurtful. But I didn’t want to give up my relationship to my community; I was attached to being a Jew in the Jewish world.”

Falk started to silently change the language, sometimes while on her feet during the Amidah (the prayer recited silently, while standing). She was often the last one to sit back down, because she lost track of time as she struggled to adapt the Hebrew words, changing the patriarchal image of God as the Lord and King to other, gender-neutral metaphors. She was not yet writing her new prayers down or sharing them publicly.

A turning point came in 1983, while she was a teacher at the Havurah Institute in Princeton. Rabbi Arthur Waskow was in charge of the Havdalah service to take place on Saturday night, and on Friday afternoon he asked Falk to provide a kavanah, meditation, for each of the blessings.

“I told Art I just couldn’t do that, and when he asked why, I blurted out that I didn’t say those blessings any more. That was the first time I said aloud that I no longer prayed with the traditional words. Without missing a beat, Art said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, ‘So write your own blessings.’ I told him I thought they’d stone me. ‘Marcia,’ he said in a booming voice, ‘they won’t stone you.’

So I sat down that afternoon and wrote my first four blessings, and the next night, full of trepidation, I recited them before a community of 300 Jews ranging in affiliation from atheist to Orthodox. I recited the new words without introduction, as though they had been written a couple of millennia ago by the rabbis, rather than the day before, by me. I offered no apology or explanation (I didn’t dare to), and, to my puzzlement and disbelief, the community said, Amen.”

In March of 1985, Falk published an essay in Moment Magazine, in which she presented some of her new blessings, which would eventually become part of her path-breaking Book of Blessings, published in 1996. The article engendered strong and voluminous reactions across the spectrum; Falk received fan mail as well as attack mail. While there were many Jews, especially Jewish women, who had been waiting for an alternative to the patriarchal imagery of the prayer book and who were thrilled that Falk had met the challenge, there were also people who insisted that she did not have the right to make changes, especially to the Hebrew. But, Falk says, Jewish liturgy has always changed over time. “If it doesn’t evolve, it ossifies.” And Falk believes it is not enough to change the English. Her work is unique in that it offers new prayers in Hebrew poetic language.

“Many Jews want a liturgy that expresses their values and concerns. Keeping it alive in a fresh way has always been part of Jewish tradition,” she says.

It has been 20 years since the publication of The Book of Blessings, and Falk’s readers have waited long for its sequel. Now, it’s here with new essays by scholars Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell, Rabbi Naamah Kelman, Rabbi Dalia Marx, and Rabbi David Ellenson that reflect on the impact over the past 20 years.

Rabbi David Ellenson, director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies at Brandeis University said in one of the afterwords,  “It is not too much to say that the publication of The Book of Blessings in the last decade of the twentieth century revolutionized and revivified the foundations of Jewish liturgy.”

Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell noted in another afterword,  “All who want to sing a new song to God are in Marcia Falk’s debt.”

***

Join us as Marcia Falk, author of the Book of Blessings and The Days Between: Blessings, Poems, and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season presents, “The Book of Blessings: A Feminist Liturgy for Our Times.”

Monday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 6, 7:30 p.m., International Lounge, Usdan, Brandeis University, 415 South St., Waltham

Co-sponsored with the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, JFAB

Join us Nov. 7, noon, online for a webinar, Conversations with Extraordinary Women.

Lisa Fishbayn Joffe, S.J.D, Director of the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute interviews Marcia Falk.

Click here to register.

Co-sponsored with the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Amy Powell is the Assistant Director of HBI for Communications. (portions of this blog were adapted from an 2013 blog in this space)

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