Guarding the treasure : [Rezension zu:] Tamar Ross, Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism, Brandeis University Press, Waltham 2004, xxiv + 342 pp.

  • I. Introduction The early 1970s in the United States was a turbulent, rebellious period – in which all questions were legitimate, certainly on the college campus. As the rabbinic advisor to the Orthodox minyan at Harvard-Radcliffe Hillel, I found myself challenged repeatedly by congregants, colleagues and friends regarding the status of women in Jewish law and ritual. This required me, in turn, to search for honest and appropriate explanations and rationale. This quest has continued to preoccupy me for more than three decades. When I first embarked on this endeavor, I did so with a sense of confidence and commitment. As a “Halakhic Feminist,” I have searched for ways to increase women’s involvement in Jewish spiritual and ritual life, and I remain confident in the inherent viability of the halakhic process. But through it all, my highest commitment has been to the integrity of Halakhah. I firmly believe that without Halakhah as our anchor, we would rapidly lose our direction and raison d’etre.Because of these sensitivities, I picked up Tamar Ross’s recent book “Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism” with a great deal of excitement and anticipation. The author comes with wonderful credentials: she is an esteemed professor of philosophy, a traditional Jewess, and a highly respected Orthodox feminist. Academically, this extremely analytical, insightful, erudite and welldocumented book turned out to be highly challenging because of its interdisciplinary nature, saturated with new jargon and concepts. But it was by no means disappointing. Indeed, more than 300 pages later, I found myself intellectually edified and stimulated by my newfound understanding of the history, philosophy and theology of feminism. Prof. Ross is quite effective at outlining many of the troubling issues concerning the status of women in Jewish law – issues that every thinking, committed Jew should ponder. As a result, this work has received generally laudatory reviews. Despite all the above, I found the book very unsettling. In her preface (p. xvii), the author indicates that, in addition to scholars of religion and feminism, this book is directed to two other audiences. The first group includes those who have been sensitized by feminism but are desirous of keeping their grip on tradition. The second audience consists of those who are firmly Orthodox, but would like to gain greater insight into what the feminist fuss is all about.5 In short, as the title ofthe book suggests, Prof. Ross attempts to span the divide between Orthodoxy and feminism. Unfortunately, I do not believe she has succeeded in this task, and this essay is an attempt to delineate why.

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Author:Aryeh A. Frimer
Document Type:Review
Date of Publication (online):2008/11/25
Year of first Publication:2007
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2008/11/25
Tag:Rezension; Orthodoxie ; Feminismus
Review essay ; orthodoxy ; feminism
Page Number:40
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 29 Andere Religionen / 290 Andere Religionen
Sammlungen:JudaicaDoc | Jüdische Studien und Israel-Studien / Jüdische Studien - Literatur
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht