This Week in History

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Anita Diamant publishes "The Red Tent"

October 1, 1997
Anita Diamant
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Author Anita Diamant at a booksigning at Nightingale House, London, March 2010.

Photo by Brian Minkoff, London Pixels.


Anita Diamant's powerful first work of fiction, The Red Tent, was published on October 1, 1997. The novel offers a striking reimagining of the minimal Biblical narratives describing the lives of the Jewish matriarchs, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel. It focuses on the life of Leah's daughter Dina who appears in the Bible only as a rape victim.

After a small initial printing, readers across the nation began to discover and embrace The Red Tent. It became a popular pick by book clubs and individuals alike, and a long-lived best seller on amazon.com. The Red Tent has been reprinted multiple times in paperback, and foreign editions are available in 20 countries worldwide. A tenth-anniversary edition was published in August 2007.

Prior to publishing The Red Tent, Diamant worked as a journalist in Boston and New England. She is the author of many critically acclaimed books about contemporary Jewish life, practice, and the community. Such books include Choosing a Jewish Life: A Handbook for People Converting to Judaism and for Their Family and Friends (1997), as well as Saying Kaddish, How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead and Mourn as a Jew (1998).

Diamant lives in Boston where she helped to found and is President of Mayyim Hayyim: Living Waters Community Mikveh & Education Center, an organization that opened the first non-Orthodox mikveh (ritual bath) in the Boston area in May 2004. Diamant's most recent books include novels, Day After Night (2009), The Last Days of Dogtown (2005), and Pitching My Tent (2003), a spiritual autobiography.

See also: This Week in History for May 14, 2004, "Mayyim Hayyim, a progressive community mikveh, opens"; Jewesses with Attitude, "Story Time," "A Look at 'How Jews Look' and 'The Colors of Water'"; Anglo-Jewish Writers: Twentieth Century.

Sources: www.mayyimhayyim.org; www.anitadiamant.com.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Anita Diamant publishes "The Red Tent"." (Viewed on April 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/oct/01/1997/anita-diamant>.