This contemporary anthology features 33 essays by women from a variety of Jewish backgrounds, exploring the biblical passages and liturgical themes for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The approach is modernist-feminist but with a deep, sincere respect for the tradition and what it can teach us today.
Both Jews and non-Jews will find insights here about two of the more troubling stories in the Bible --the casting out of Hagar, and the almost-sacrifice of Isaac -- both of which are read in the synagogue during the High Holy Days. The Torah tells us only the bare outlines of the story, but does not explore the feelings of the women involved with much depth. But the Bible is not the only sacred text available. Traditionally, Jews have "filled in the blanks" with a process called "midrash" (which means "from searching" in Hebrew) and there is a whole body of this type of literature, which forms an interpretive lens throough which Jews "see" these stories. This book uses both classical midrash and personal insiights to explore some serious questions: Was Sarah justified in demanding that Abraham send Hagar away? How could Abraham have even condidered sacrificing his son? How did this event affect his wife Sarah? Etc. Etc. You may not agree with the opinions offered in this book, but I guarantee it will make you think!