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Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award for 1998.

How can women's full participation transform Jewish law, prayer, sexuality, and marriage? What does it mean to "engender" Jewish tradition? Pioneering theologian Rachel Adler gives this timely and powerful question its first thorough study in a book that bristles with humor, passion, intelligence, and deep knowledge of tra
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 10th 1999 by Beacon Press (first published January 1998)
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Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: judaism, feminism
Before reading this, I had heard it described as "radical." I think that adjective is too leading. While Adler is radical, she is not necessarily so in the ways you might expect. The book is 20 years old, and though some of its ideas have percolated downwards, they have not done so evenly.

What distinguishes Adler's work is the depth of her analysis. Many Jewish feminists focus on inequality in ritual life: the ability to learn Torah, to lead a service, to count in the minyan. Adler is intereste
Jun 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Sue by: Beth Sholom Library
One of the seminal books of Jewish feminism (first published in the 1990s, I believe). Lots of fascinating stuff in here, including a new approach to kiddushin, & a text to use instead of a ketubah, for both straight & gay couples.
Claire M
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Rachel Adler is nothing short of brilliant. As someone already relatively well-versed in Jewish feminism, this book taught me so much and gave me an immense amount of food for thought. Not only is it a thorough and beautiful academic text, but reading it also felt like a form of therapy, catharsis for the Jewish woman torn between traditional theology and contemporary ethics.
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A groundbreaking book that opened a new era in thought about women and halakhah, Jewish law. Dr. Adler argues for a feminist reading of Jewish legal questions and explores the possibilities, including a new covenant of marriage, the brit ahuvim.
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, jew-ish
This book does a very good job of identifying the problematic aspects of the roles of women in the Torah and in traditional Judaism. In some instances (like the chapter on inclusive language in worship) it is better at identifying the problems with making the necessary reforms than with proposing said reforms. However, the chapter on marriage does an excellent job of proposing a system that transforms marriage from ownership to partnership-- and in such a way to benefit both heterosexual and hom ...more
Oct 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read excerpts of this book for a course on Women in Jewish Law, and had to go back and read the whole thing because I liked it so much. Chapter 4, "Justice & Peace Shall Kiss: An Ethics of Sexuality and Relationship" is especially interesting to those studying religion and gender/ sexuality as a whole; I found it applicable to a wide range of subjects outside of Judaism. And of course, Chapter 2, "Here Comes Skotsl", is required reading for everyone interested in feminist Jewish theology. ...more
Sep 12, 2016 marked it as to-read
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Rachel Adler is the David Ellenson Professor of Modern Jewish Thought at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Los Angeles Campus. She pioneered in integrating feminist perspectives into interpreting Jewish texts and law. Her book "Engendering Judaism" (1998) is the first by a female theologian to win a National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought. Rabbi Adler has a PhD in Religion an ...more

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