Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology...

A pioneering work on what it means to "engender" Jewish tradition, that is, how women`s full inclusion can and must transform our understanding and practice of Jewish law, prayer, sexuality, and marriage. It challenges both mainstream Judaism and feminist dogma, and speaks across the movements as well as to Christian theologians and feminists.

viii Preface by David Ellenson Jewish tradition holds language to be both powerful and holy. Judaism identifies speech— the word— as the agent of creation. The Psalmist, in words included in the daily liturgy of the Jewish prayer book, proclaims, “ Blessed is the one who spoke, and the world came to be.” Words are also the means of revelation. God speaks to Israel at Sinai, and The Ten Com-mandments are referred to in rabbinic tradition as Asseret ha- Dibberot— The Ten Words. Indeed, words are so precious that Genesis asserts that the uniqueness and elevation of the human species reside in the gift of language with which God distinguished humanity from all other forms of life. The vocabulary of the medieval Jewish philosophical tradition rec-ognizes these sacred roles assigned to language and speech in Judaism by identifying the human being as ha- Medabber— he who speaks. Through speech, all of us offer that which is ours alone to the Other. Speech af-firms the existence of the self. At the same time, speech seeks a response from the Other. Words provide the basis for community, for they permit and allow for dialogue among people. When a community accords an individual or group the privilege of pub-lic speech, it is a mark that the community has conferred equal status upon such persons. Conversely, when a community silences or excludes an individual or a group, when it views them as beings who are neither qualified nor capable of addressing the Other, then that community di-minishes their humanity. Words, in the end, possess the power of confer-ring personhood. The ability to speak— to address Others and to be ad-dressed— is that which signifies that we are fully human. Language and speech are primordially ethical. Engendering Judaism is based upon these observations concerning the power of silence and speech. In these pages, Rachel Adler argues that Judaism must be conceptualized as an extended conversation, one in which the lips of participants long since dead move and inform the present. Many of these voices are recorded in classical texts like the Bi-ble and Talmud, and they form a core element in the ground of Jewish religious tradition. As a Jewish theologian, Adler does not exclude these voices from the Jewish conversation. To do so, in her opinion, would be   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C  | I n d e x For use on stand- alone, non- institutional computers only. To purchase Scholar PDF version with advanced functionality, go to www. publishersrow. com

Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics


About Book Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics

Front MatterTitle PageCopyright PageDedication PageContentsPrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroductionEpilogue: On Seeds and RuinsAppendixNotesIntroductionEpilogueIndex of Bible CitationsGeneral Index
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