JEWISH AND FEMALE: Choices and Changes in Our Lives Today by Susan Weidman Schneider

JEWISH AND FEMALE: Choices and Changes in Our Lives Today

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Designedly, ""a clearinghouse of information for all [the] ways in which Jewish women are creating new realities out of their own changed consciousness""--and broadly suggestive, immediately useful. Schneider, who credits her own awakened consciousness, and exposure to these strivings, to her connection with the Jewish feminist quarterly, Lilith, at once explores the issues, describes the current state-of-affairs, lays out the options, and provides further sources of information. ""The most profoundly disabling effect of the Halachic distinctions between men and women has been the exclusion of women from many of the obligations that define an adult male as a Jew. Judaism is a religion wherein identification is demonstrated primarily by performance, rather than belief or creed."" So Schneider tells some of the ""creative solutions"" women have found, as individuals and within the various branches of Judaism. (The writing of liturgies, for one, and how to obtain them.) She discusses how to celebrate the calendar and each holiday, and ways of honoring the birth and coming-of-age of a daughter; she examines the role of women in Jewish intellectual life (including, but not limited to, the ""hidden curriculum"" of textbooks and storybooks); she considers sexual traditions for themselves, and in relation to feminist issues (abortion of course), the patriarchal tradition in relation to the family (and lesbian Jews). Questions of child-rearing and divorce are raised. Guidance is offered on giving time and money--through traditional channels (""with a difference""), or otherwise. The progress of the Jewish women's movement is assessed, finally, with emphasis on successful tactics (not ""anger""), but no counsel to go slow. It's a kaleidoscopic resource and, by its incorporation of the work of many Jewish feminists, an education in itself.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1984
Publisher: Simon & Schuster