Exhibit: Women Who Dared
BiographiesMultimediaBy CityAbout WWD Jewish Gender Activism
What She Said
  Merle Feld
  Organizer of Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue
  Boston WWD Event 2000
  Born in 1947
  Facilitated all-women Israeli-Palestinian dialogue group and shared power of this experience through her writing
Biography  up to top

Merle Feld, poet and playwright, was born and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, in an assimilated family. In college her curiosity about Jewish life and her desire to find a community drew Feld to Hillel, where she found a deep and enduring connection to Judaism and Jewish life.

Feld was active in Jewish feminism from its early years, but did not perceive herself as a political person until 1989, when she spent a sabbatical in Israel with her husband and two young children. During that year, she became involved in peace activism, facilitating an all-women Israeli-Palestinian dialogue group on the West Bank. This group was very important in creating a sense of shared humanity among Israeli and Palestinian women, breaking down prejudices and forming a grassroots context for understanding. Feld also demonstrated regularly with Women in Black, an Israeli women's weekly, silent protest of the Occupation. These experiences formed the basis of her play, "Across the Jordan," included in the first anthology of Jewish women playwrights, Making a Scene (Syracuse University Press, 1997). In addition, her memoir, A Spiritual Life: Exploring the Heart and Jewish Tradition (revised, SUNY Press, 2007) includes a chapter describing the dialogue work of that year in Israel.

Merle Feld's most recent book is Finding Words (URJ Press 2011). She currently serves as Founding Director of the Rabbinic Writing Institute and lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband Rabbi Edward Feld.

What She Said  up to top
I think the bottom line of a spiritual journey is to be able to experience yourself as someone of real worth. And I think that's necessary for political expression. ...More 
From 1969, I was centrally involved in Jewish feminism, but never thought of that as being political. ...More 
The deepest meeting place was over experiences with children. And it was shocking to see how much in common the two sides had about that. ...More 
[Dialogue] taught me a lot. I saw that I could do things that I wouldn't have imagined I could do. ...More 
It was most often difficult to be there [in dialogue group]. It wasn't anything like sitting in a women's group talking about our mothers ...More 
[Women in Black] was often scary. Not so much the standing there... But the going to it and the coming back afterwards were intense. ...More 
I believe two qualities are necessary for engaging in tikkun olam [repairing the world]: one, that you have the ability to see the other, to see a problem, to see pain, to see injustice ...More 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Merle Feld." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pmfeld>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Merle Feld," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pmfeld>.