Magazine article Herizons

From Memory to Transformation: Jewish Women's Voices

Magazine article Herizons

From Memory to Transformation: Jewish Women's Voices

Article excerpt

FROM MEMORY TO TRANSFORMATION: JEWISH WOMEN'S VOICES

EDITED BY SARAH SILBERSTEIN SWARTZ AND MARGIE WOLFE

SECOND STORY PRESS, 1998

REVIEWED BY CLAIRE HELMAN

Memory keeps Jewish identity alive. But for many Jewish women, the traditional legacy filtered through a patriarchal vision does not speak to, or for them. This anthology explores how feminism is transforming the secular and spiritual components of Jewish life-with essays touching on everything from borscht to God-language in the process!

Artists, rabbis, educators, daughters of Holocaust survivors, French-speaking Moroccans, children's writers, lesbian mothers, psychotherapists and others are grouped under four sections: Legacy, Identity, Religion and Ritual, Activism and Social Change. The "voices" range from the well known, to the new-to-me, the personal to the academic, and span a wide range of subjects.

Want to delve into the feelings of someone raised as a Protestant who discovers her Jewish heritage? Or learn about the parenting techniques of a lesbian couple? Or smile ruefully as the protagonist of a one-woman monologue finds her identity? Other essays deal with the hidden or forgotten voices of women writing in Yiddish, and the poignant, personal stories of daughters of Holocaust survivors seeking clues to memory and identity.

There is the mature wisdom of Pearl Goldenberg in "Minyan of Crones: New Rituals for Jewish Women," Judith R. Cohen's scholarly overview of women's role in Judeo-Spanish song and Norma Baumel Joesph's lucid essay on "Zakhor: Memory, Ritual and Gender." In "Speculations of a Secular Jew," Greta Nemiroff struggles to find any sort of link with her Jewish identity. …

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