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Women and Judaism

In this section, you'll find a wide variety of material, from the strongly feminist perspectives of Reform Judaism to the more traditional perspectives of Orthodoxy, with a few more general books relating to feminism and women-and-religion in general. Use caution when selecting, and I always welcome annotations to further help the readers. Many of these suggestions come from a reading list developed by Rabbi Shira Stern, originally published in v4n60 of the Liberal Judaism Mailing List.

Abrams, Judith Z. The Women of the Talmud. Jason Aronson; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 1-568212-83-6.
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Adelman, Penina V. Miriam's Well: Rituals for Jewish Women Around the Year. Biblio Pr; 1986, 1996. Paperback. 10th Anniv. Ed. ISBN 0-930395-11-5.
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Adler, Rachel. Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics. Jewish Publication Society; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-827605-84-6.
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Aiken, Lisa. To Be a Jewish Woman. Aronson, Northvale NJ. 1992. Jason Aronson; 1994. Paperback. ISBN 1-568211-53-8.
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Alpert, Rebecca. Like Bread on the Seder Plate. Columbia Univ Pr; 1998. Paperback. ISBN 0-231096-61-5. [Explores the difficult balance of living as both a Jew and a lesbian]
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Anderson, Sherry Ruth; Hopkins, Patricia. The Feminine Face of God: The Unfolding of the Sacred in Women. Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub; 1991, 1992. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-553352-66-0.
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Antonelli, Judith S. In the Image of God: A Feminist Commentary on the Torah. Jason Aronson; 1997. Paperback. ISBN 0-765799-52-9.
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Balka, Christie (ed); Rose, Andy (ed.). Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian, Gay, and Jewish. Beacon Pr; 1991. Paperback reprint ed. ISBN 0-807079-09-X.
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Baskin, Judith R. (ed). Jewish Women in Historical Perspective. Wayne State Univ Pr; 1999. Paperback. 2nd edition. ISBN 0-814327-13-3.
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Biale, Rachel. Women & Jewish Law: An Exploration Of Women's Issues In Halakhic Sources. New York : Schocken Books, 1984. [This book does a nice overview of various portions of Jewish law and how it applies to women. I have only briefly read a few parts but it is a good reference and overview.]

Biale, Rachel. Women and Jewish Law: The Essential Texts, Their History, and Their Relevance for Today. Schocken Books; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 0-805210-49-0.
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Bletter, Diana; Grinker, Lori (Photographer). The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women. Jewish Publication Society; 1989. Hardcover. ISBN 0-827603-33-9.
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Brody, Leslie (ed). Daughters of Kings: Growing Up As a Jewish Woman in America. Faber & Faber; 1997. Hardcover. ISBN 0-571199-19-4.
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Broner, E.M. The Telling - The Story of a Group of Jewish Women who Journey to Spirituality Through Community and Ceremony. Harpercollins; 1993. Hardcover. ISBN 9-992334-49-5.
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Broner, E. M. Bringing Home the Light: A Jewish Woman's Handbook of Rituals. Council Oak Distribution; 1999. Hardcover. ISBN 1-571780-84-X.
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Chinnia, Rosemary. Can Women Re-Image the Church?. NY: Paulist Press, 1992. [Non-Jewish, but related to the subject of Jewish women in religion]

Clanton, Jann Aldredge. In Whose Image?: God and Gender. Crossroad Publishing Company; 1990. Paperback. ISBN 0-824510-31-3.
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Davidman, Lynn. Tradition in a Rootless World: Women Turn to Orthodox Judaism. Univ California Press; 1991. Hardcover. ISBN 0-520072-82-0.
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Davidman, Lynn; Tenenbaum, Shelly (ed). Feminist Perspectives on Jewish Studies. Yale Univ Pr; 1995. Hardcover. ISBN 0-300060-28-9.
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Diamant, Anita. The Red Tent. Picador USA; 1998. Paperback. ISBN 0-312195-51-6.
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Fine, Irene. Midlife: A Rite of Passage and the Wise Woman: A Celebration. Womans Inst Cont Jewish Educ; 1988. Paperback. ISBN 0-960805-47-8.
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Fiorenza, Elisabeth Schussler. But She Said: Feminist Practices of Biblical Interpretation. Beacon Pr; 1992,1993. Paperback. Reissue edition. ISBN 0-807012-15-7.
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Fishman, Sylvia Barack. A Breath of Life: Feminism in the American Jewish Community (Brandeis Series in American Jewish History, Culture, and Life). Maxwell Macmillan International, c1993. Brandeis Univ; 1995. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-874517-06-0. [The challenge of being Feminist and Jewish in America. Touches on all sorts of issues (Ritual, Marriage, etc.)]
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Frankiel, Tamar. The Voice of Sarah: Feminine Spirituality and Traditional Judaism. Harpercollins; 1992. Biblio Pr; 1997. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-930395-22-0. [A feminist and observant Jew wrestles with the Jewish feminine mystique].
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Frankel, Ellen. The Five Books of Miriam; A Woman's Commentary on the Torah. 1996. Hardcover. Putnam Pub Group; 1996. ISBN 0-399141-95-2.
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Goldstein, Elyse. The Women's Torah Commentary: New Insights from Women Rabbis on the 54 Weekly Torah Portions. Jewish Lights Pub; August 2000. Hardcover. ISBN 1-580230-76-8. [In this book, more than 50 women rabbis come together to offer their own inspiring commentaries on the Torah, following the traditional weekly reading.]
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Gottlieb, Lynn. She Who Dwells Within: A Feminist Vision of a Renewed Judaism. Harper San Francisco; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 0-060632-92-5.
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Greenberg, Blu. On Women and Judaism: A View From Tradition. Jewish Publication Society; 1981, 1994. Paperback. ISBN 0-827602-26-X.
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Greenberg, Blu. How to Run a Traditional Jewish Household. Simon and Schuster, New York. 1983, 1985. Paperback. ISBN 0-671602-70-5. [A book on Jewish home rituals and Blu's experiences and techniques. Blu is also a Feminist.]
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Goldstein, Elyse. ReVisions: Seeing Torah Through a Feminist Lens. Jewish Lights Pub; 1999. Hardcover. ISBN 1-580230-47-4.
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Grossman, Susan; Haut, Rivka (ed). Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue. Jewish Publication Society; 1992, 1994. Paperback. ISBN 0-827604-41-6.
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Handelman, Susan (Editor); Elper,Ora Wiskind (Editor). Torah of the Mothers : Contemporary Jewish Women Read Classical Jewish Texts. Lambda Pub Inc; 2000. Hardcover. ISBN 9-657108-23-3. [A collection of essays and teachings culled from years of Bible and Jewish study by highly accomplished women Torah scholars and educators. Each contributor brings her own area of expertise to bear, providing novel and refreshing insights into biblical and rabbinic texts. Each also offers thought-provoking commentary on the ever present themes of exile and redemption, which are intrinsic to the ongoing saga of the Jewish people.]
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Harris, Lis. Holy Days: The World of a Hasidic Family. Collier Books, 1985, 1986. MacMillan Publishing Company; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 0-684813-66-1. [Lis Harris goes and visits a Hasidic family. She writes about what she learns and sees. It gives some of the history of the Lubavicher movement, some of the experiences of the holidays, and some of the every day experiences. It is a well written book.]
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Hauptman, Judith. Rereading the Rabbis : A Woman's Voice. Westview Press, 1998, 1999. Paperback. ISBN 0-813334-06-3. [Acknowledging that Judaism, as described in both the Bible and the Talmud, was patriarchal, Hauptman demonstrates that the rabbis of the Talmud made significant changes in key areas of Jewish law in order to benefit women. Reading the texts with feminist sensibilities, the author shows that although the rabbis whose rulings are recorded in the Talmud did not achieve full equality for women they should be credited with giving women higher status and more rights. Rather than plucking passages from a variety of different rabbinical works and sewing them together to produce an artificial, unified point of view, Hauptman reads sources in their own literary and legal context and then considers them in relationship to a rich array of associated materials.]
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Henry, Sondra; Taitz, Emily. Written Out of History: Our Jewish Foremothers. Biblio Pr; 1988, 1997. Paperback. ISBN 0-930395-10-7.
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Heschel, Susannah. On Being a Jewish Feminist. Schocken Books; 1983, 1995. Paperback reprint edition. ISBN 0-805210-36-9. [Graphically demonstrates how Judaism is broken with respect to feminism, and presents the writers belief how this can be addressed within Halacha]
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Hyman, Naomi M. (ed). Biblical Women in the Midrash: A Sourcebook. Jason Aronson; 1997. Hardcover. ISBN 1-568219-50-4.
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Kantrowitz, Melanie Kaye (ed.); Klepfisz, Irena (ed.). The Tribe of Dina: A Jewish Women's Anthology. Sinister Wisdom 29/30; 1986. Beacon Pr; 1989. Paperback. Revised and expanded edition. ISBN 0-807036-05-6.
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Katex, Judith A. (ed); Reimer, Gail Twersky (ed). Reading Ruth: Contemporary Women Reclaim a Sacred Story. Jewish Lights Pub; 1997. Hardcover. Volume 2. ISBN 1-879045-15-X.
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Kaufman, Debra Renee. Rachel's Daughters: Newly Orthodox Jewish Women. Rutgers Univ Press; 1991. Paperback. ISBN 0-813516-38-2.
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Kaufman, Michael. The Woman in Jewish Law and Tradition. Unknown; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 1-568216-24-6.
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Klirs, Tracy Guren; Selavan, Ida Cohen. The Merit of Our Mothers: A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women's Prayers (Jewish Perspectives, Vol 5). Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. Wayne State Univ Pr; 1999. Paperback. ISBN 0-814327-33-8. [Reform]
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Koltun, Elizabeth (editor). The Jewish Woman: New Perspectives. New York : Schocken Books, 1976. ISBN 0-805205-32-2. Out of print. [Collection of writings on women and Judaism. Feminist perspective.]

Kornbluth, Doron (Editor); Kornbluth, Sarah Tikvah (Editor). Jewish Women Speak About Jewish Matters. Feldheim Publishers; 2000. Paperback. ISBN 1-568711-51-4. [Twenty-five female contributors from around the world speak about various topics within the sections of "Body and Soul," "Spiritual Matters," "Biblical Texts," "Gender and Roles," and "Jewish Women Past and Present."]
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Levine, Elizabeth R. A Ceremonies Sampler. Womans Inst Cont Jewish Educ; 1991. Paperback. ISBN 0-960805-49-4.
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Levitt, Laura. Jews and Feminism: The Ambivalent Search for Home. Routledge; 1997. Paperback. ISBN 0-415914-45-0.
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Manning, Christel. God Gave Us the Right: Conservative Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Orthodox Jewish Women Grapple With Feminism. Rutgers Univ Press; 1999. Paperback. ISBN 0-813525-99-3.
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Meiselman, M. Jewish Woman in Jewish Law. Ktav Publishing House; 1978. Paperback. ISBN 0-870683-29-2.
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Moskowitz, Faye. A Leak in the Heart: Tales from a Woman's Life. David Goodine, 1985. ISBN 0-879235-51-9. Out of print.

Ochs, Vanessa. Words on Fire: One Woman's Journey Into The Sacred. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1990. Westview Press; 1999. Paperback. ISBN 0-813367-18-2. [Story of Vanessa Ochs experience in going to Israel and deciding to study Tanach in Orthodox offerings. It teaches bits of torah and talmud as you go along and also brings up some of the issues she had with the Orthodox communities. (I believe she identifies herself as Conservative Jew).]
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Orenstein, Debra (ed). Lifecycles V. 1: Jewish Women on Life Passages and Personal Milestones. Jewish Lights Pub; 1994. Hardcover. ISBN 1-879045-14-1. [Non-Orthodox point of view].
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Orenstein, Debra (ed); Litman, Jane Rachel (ed). Lifecycles V. 2: Jewish Women on Biblical Themes in Contemporary Life. Jewish Lights Pub; 1997. Hardcover. ISBN 1-879045-15-X.
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Orenstein, Walter. Letters to My Daughter: A Father Writes About Torah and the Jewish Woman. Jason Aronson; 1995. Hardcover. ISBN 1-568213-87-5.
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Orsborn, Carol. Return from Exile: One Woman's Journey Back to Judaism. Continuum Pub Group; 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-826411-02-9.
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Plaskow, Judith (ed.); Christ, Carol P. (ed.). Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality. Harper San Francisco; 1989. Paperback. ISBN 0-060613-83-1.
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Plaskow Judith and Christ, Carol. Womanspirit Rising: A Feminist Reader in Religion. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1979, 1992. Paperback. Reissue edition. ISBN 0-060613-77-7.
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Plaskow, Judith. Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective. Harper San Francisco; 1991. Paperback reprint edition. ISBN 0-060666-84-6.
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Plaskow, Judith; Berman, Donna (Editor). The Coming of Lilith: Essays on Feminism, Judaism, and Sexual Ethics, 1972-2003. Beacon Press (July 15, 2005). Paperback. ISBN 0807036234.
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Pogrebin, Letty Cottin. Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America. Crown Publishers, 1991. Anchor Books/Doubleday; 1992. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-385425-12-0.
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Raver, Miki Listen to Her Voice : Women of the Hebrew Bible. Chronicle Books 1998. Hardcover. ISBN 0-811818-95-0.
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Reimer, Gail Twersky (ed); Kates, Judith A. (ed). Beginning Anew: A Woman's Companion to the High Holy Days. Touchstone Books; 1997. Paperback. ISBN 0-684826-87-9.
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Roiphe, Anne. Generation Without Memory: A Jewish Journey in Christian America. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1981. ISBN 0-671690-01-9. Out of Print

Rudavsky, T.M. (ed). Gender and Judaism: The Transformation of Tradition. New York Univ Pr; 1995. Paperback. ISBN 0-814774-53-9.
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Ruether, Rosemary Radford. Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology. Beacon Pr; 1983, 1993. Paperback. Reissue edition. ISBN 0-807012-05-X.
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Ruether, Rosemary Radford (ed.). Womanguides: Readings Toward a Feminist Theology. Beacon Pr; 1985, 1996. Paperback. Revised edition. ISBN 0-807012-35-1.
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Rush, Barbara. The Book of Jewish Women's Tales. Jason Aronson; 1994. Hardcover. ISBN 1-568210-87-6.
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Schneider, Susan. Jewish and Female. NY: Simon and Schuster, 1984. ISBN 0-671604-39-2. Out of Print.

Spiegel, Marcia C.;Kremsdorf, Deborah L. (ed.). Women Speak to God: The Prayers and Poems of Jewish Women. Womans Inst Cont Jewish Educ; 1987. Paperback. ISBN 0-960805-46-X.
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Teubal, Savina J. Sarah the Priestess: The First Matriarch of Genesis. Swallow Pr; 1984, 1993. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-804008-44-2.
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Teubal, Savina J. Ancient Sisterhood: The Lost Traditions of Hagar and Sarah. Ohio Univ Pr; 1997. Paperback. Reprint edition. ISBN 0-804010-01-3.
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Tolley, Jackie. On Our Spiritual Journey Creative Shabbat Service. Womans Inst Cont Jewish Educ; 1984. Hardcover. ISBN 0-960805-43-5.
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Umansky, Ellen M. (ed); Ashton, Diane (ed). Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality: A Sourcebook. Beacon Pr; 1992. Paperback. ISBN 0-807036-13-7.
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Wenkart, Henny (ed.). Sarah's Daughters Sing: A Sampler of Poems by Jewish Women. Ktav Publishing House; 1990. Hardcover. ISBN 0-881253-48-0.
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Winter, Miriam Therese; Craighead, Meinrad (illustrator). Womanwisdom: A Feminist Lectionary and Psalter: Women of the Hebrew Scriptures. Crossroad Pub Co; 1992. Paperback. ISBN 0-824511-41-7.
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Zones, Jane Sprague, ed. Taking the Fruit: Modern Women's Tales of the Bible. San Diego: Women's Institute for Continuing Education, 1981, 1990. Paperback. 2nd ed. ISBN 0-960805-48-6.
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There are other books relating to traditional views of the womens role in family life to be found in the "LIFE, DEATH, AND IN-BETWEEN", of the reading list (the "traditional" file).

[Got Questions?]Our goal is to keep this list useful for its readers. To that end, suggestions of books to add to the list are always welcome. In your suggestion, please be as complete as possible; we need author, title, publisher, publishing date, and ISBN number. We also welcome a one paragraph short summary of why the book is of interest. Please send your suggestions to the FAQ maintainer at

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