A WEAVE OF WOMEN by E. M. Broner


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Picking up on recent feminist probes into the taboos and strictures which cast women aside from the core rituals of religion, Broner has launched a spirited if embarrassingly grandiose socio-political fulminade against the male-centered traditions of Judaism. She bas assembled a group of women living together, off and on, in what is craftily named the ""Home for Wayward Girls"" in Jerusalem. They come from diverse backgrounds, but all have been wounded either by gross assaults or little cruelties--connected with their femaleness. They come from stultifying domestic prisons, battered by rape or spoiled love, disapproved of, humiliated, in a holy land where ""a religious man does not hear a woman."" These ""daughters of Jerusalem,"" after a series of windy consciousness-raising sessions, will eventually become, with a few losses, a ""government in exile."" Throughout tales of individual struggles, the women perform their communal rites: the celebration of a birth, the baby's ""piercing"" (""May she not be delivered intact to her bridegroom. May she live""), mourning, readying for battle. They take revenge on a pious seducer, save a life, soothe one another. There are some moving episodes--an Arab student seeking warmth is rebuffed by his classmates--but they only happen when Broner leaves the lectern: the bulk of the book hammers away at Message with sententious transports. ""I name you Hardener of Nails, Terry, I name you Guide and Hide, Gloria. I name you Mission and Christian, Deedee,"" etc. At one point Deedee (M & C) complains to herself about all the ""endless talmudic tract, spiritual gossip, this daily poop of prayer"". . . and, one might add, this stunning spray of Sermon.

Pub Date: May 25th, 1978
ISBN: 0253203546
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston