Adele Ginzberg’s Sukkah

Adele Ginzberg’s Sukkah

Oct 21, 2016 By Shuly Rubin Schwartz | Commentary | Sukkot

Such a luscious array of branches and gourds proudly displayed by Adele Ginzberg—wife of JTS Talmud professor Louis Ginzberg—as she prepared to once again adorn the JTS sukkah!

This photo from The JTS Library evokes for me the loving care with which many early twentieth-century JTS faculty wives cultivated religious spirit and community.

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Law as Response to Its Context

Law as Response to Its Context

Jul 29, 2016 By Jonathan Milgram | Commentary | Pinehas

What social and economic criteria demand a reevaluation—or perhaps even redefinition—of divine law? How does Jewish legal development through the ages illustrate the interrelationship between God and the Jewish people that results in new and relevant Jewish laws? The analysis of one element in parashat Pinehasinheritance by daughters—teaches that, at times, the Jewish people’s response to the divine call may be determined by the social and economic contexts, resulting in a reframing of the divine message for a new age.

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Purim Heroines

Purim Heroines

Mar 18, 2016 By Stefanie B. Siegmund | Commentary | Purim

I did not wear the crown and satiny dress, or stand in line for the beauty pageant. Queen Esther was not a role model I—or many other children—could choose. Later, in the academy, I understood that Esther’s subterfuge and seduction were the strategies of the weak, the politics of the minority. 

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Including Women in the Covenant

Including Women in the Covenant

Aug 14, 2004 By Matthew Berkowitz | Commentary | Re'eh

Every year, Shi’ite Islam recalls the martyrdom of a central figure in its sacred history of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad. This annual observance is called Ashura, and it occurs on the tenth of the month of Muharran. Shiites, particularly in Lebanon, Iraq and Iran, engage in a bloody ritual of self-flagellation – extreme mourning that transports the devotee to the Battle of Karbala (October 10, 680). This rite is the most graphic illustration of a Toraitic prohibition found in Parashat R’eih. At the beginning of Deuteronomy 14, we read, “You are children (banim) of the Lord your God. You shall not gash yourselves (lo titgodedu) or shave the front of your heads because of the dead.”(Deuteronomy 14: 1) What is the literal meaning of (p’shat) in this verse? How do the Rabbis reread this verse? And, what does this seemingly archaic prohibition teach us today?

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Rav Hisda’s Daughter

Rav Hisda’s Daughter

May 14, 2013 By The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary | Public Event audio

Maggie Anton, the award-winning author of the historical fiction series Rashi’s Daughters and Rav Hisda’s Daughter, a Talmud scholar with expertise in Jewish women’s history, and an esteemed lecturer, gave this Library Book Talk at JTS on Monday, April 29, 2013.

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Redeeming the Sotah

Redeeming the Sotah

May 25, 2002 By Lauren Eichler Berkun | Commentary | Naso

This week we read about the disturbing ordeal of the sotah, a woman suspected of adultery by her husband. The elaborate account of the sotah procedure is at once magical and horrifying. The priest concocts a potion, chants a curse, and forces the woman to drink the spell-inducing water which will testify to her guilt or innocence.

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Purifying Waters?

Purifying Waters?

Apr 28, 2001 By Melissa Crespy | Commentary | Metzora | Tazria

“These are the verses that try men’s souls.” Or better, these are the verses that pain the souls of numbers of serious Jewish women. I refer to Leviticus 12:2—5 in Parshat Tazri·a, and Leviticus 15:19—24 in Parshat Metzora. The first verses describe the laws regarding the days of a woman’s “uncleanness” (tum’ah) after giving birth to a child, which last twice as long if she gives birth to a female child. The second verses refer to the “impurity” of a menstruating woman (niddah). Anything she lies on or sits on becomes “unclean,” and any man who has sexual relations with her also becomes “unclean.” While almost all of the Torah’s impurity laws became obsolete after the destruction of the Temple, these laws, regarding postpartum and menstruating women, remain on the books.

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Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders

Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders

Mar 5, 2013 By Joy Ladin | Public Event audio

Dr. Joy Ladin, David and Ruth Gottesman Professor of English, Stern College for Women – Yeshiva University, discusses her work Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey Between Genders.

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