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The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism

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In this unique collection of essays, some of today's smartest Jewish thinkers explore a broad range of fundamental questions in an effort to balance ancient tradition and modern sexuality.

In the last few decades a number of factors post-modernism, feminism, queer liberation, and more have brought discussion of sexuality to the fore, and with it a whole new set of questions that challenge time-honored traditions and ways of thinking. For Jews of all backgrounds, this has often led to an unhappy standoff between tradition and sexual empowerment.

Yet as The Passionate Torah illustrates, it is of critical importance to see beyond this apparent conflict if Jews are to embrace both their religious beliefs and their sexuality. With incisive essays from contemporary rabbis, scholars, thinkers, and writers, this collection not only surveys the challenges that sexuality poses to Jewish belief, but also offers fresh new perspectives and insights on the changing place of sexuality within Jewish theology and Jewish lives. Covering topics such as monogamy, inter-faith relationships, reproductive technology, homosexuality, and a host of other hot-button issues, these writings consider how contemporary Jews can engage themselves, their loved ones, and their tradition in a way that s both sexy and sanctified.

Seeking to deepen the Jewish conversation about sexuality, The Passionate Torah brings together brilliant thinkers in an attempt to bridge the gap between the sacred and the sexual.

Contributors: Rebecca Alpert, Wendy Love Anderson, Judith R. Baskin, Aryeh Cohen, Elliot Dorff, Esther Fuchs, Bonna Haberman, Elliot Kukla, Gail Labovitz, Malka Landau, Sarra Lev, Laura Levitt, Sara Meirowitz, Jay Michaelson, Haviva Ner-David, Danya Ruttenberg, Naomi Seidman, and Arthur Waskow.

320 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Danya Ruttenberg

16 books213 followers
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is the author of eight books. Her newest, ON REPENTANCE AND REPAIR: MAKING AMENDS IN AN UNREPENTANT WORLD (Beacon Press, September 2022) applies an ancient framework of repentance and repair not only to our personal relationships, but to the contemporary public square, to institutions, and to national policy--addressing some of the most live and unresolved issues of our time.

She was named by Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of ten “rabbis to watch,” as one of 21 “faith leaders to watch” by the Center for American Progress, by the Forward as one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis, has been a Washington Post Sunday crossword clue (83 Down) and called a “wunderkund of Jewish feminism” by Publishers Weekly.

She has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, Time, The Washington Post, and many other publications. She has been featured on NPR a number of times, as well as in The Atlantic, USA Today, NBC News, CNN, MTV News, Vice, Buzzfeed News, and elsewhere.

Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting (Flatiron Books), was a National Jewish Book Award finalist and PJ Library Parents’ Choice selection; Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press), was nominated for the Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature and a Hadassah Book Club selection. Her other books include The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (NYU Press), Yentl’s Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism (Seal Press), and, with Rabbi Elliot Dorff, three books for the Jewish Publication Society’s Jewish Choices/Jewish Voices series: Sex and Intimacy, War and National Security, and Social Justice.

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