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Jewish Law

Girls in Trouble: Women's Agency and Power in the Torah

Guest teacher Alicia Jo Rabins introduces two new study guides from her "Girls in Trouble" curriculum. By exploring the stories of the Sotah, and the daughters of Tzelofchad, participants consider women's agency and power in the Torah.

Ink of our Own: Women Who Scribe

Torah Scribe and Educator Julie Seltzer takes participants on a behind-the-scenes tour of how Torahs are written, and discusses the Jewish law that has long kept women from being scribes.

Seizing Control of the Narrative

The avalanche of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape allegations over the past few months, catalyzed by the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, make it clear that sexual violence is a problem deeply embedded in our society; it even finds credence in Judaism’s foundational text, the Torah.

Near(ly) a Woman

Every year in the Hebrew month of Shevat, Jews around the world read Parshat Yitro, the Torah portion that contains the Ten Commandments. But the “Big Ten” are only part of this portion – Parshat Yitro also contains a visit from Moses’ father-in-law, a feast, and a set of instructions from G-d transferred with questionable integrity by Moses to the Israelites. Before becoming a Bat Mitzvah at age 12, I spent months studying this portion and its various commentaries. One line was particularly alarming to me: “Be ready for the third day: do not go near a woman.”

Finding the Founding Feminists

Every year in July, the story of Pinchas is told. And on July 6, 2013, I was the one telling this story. Yep. Little 13-year-old me, electric green braces and all, was up on the bimah, knees knocking, chanting the story of Pinchas. And I did a great job, if I do say so myself. But as embarrassing as it is to admit now, my understanding of my Torah portion at that time was very superficial. I had spent so much time making sure I knew the words so I didn’t make a fool out of myself when I was chanting, that I didn’t put that much effort into fully understanding what I was saying, and how it affected me.

Miriam Spira-Luria

Although little is known of her life, legends of Miriam Spira-Luria’s scholarship offer tantalizing hints of an intelligent, accomplished woman almost completely erased from history.

Susan Grossman

As a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), Rabbi Susan Grossman has helped shape the Conservative Movement’s policies on women’s rights and their roles in Jewish life.

Susan Grossman

Rabbi Susan Grossman has helped shape the Conservative Movement’s policies on women’s rights and roles in Jewish life through her work as a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS).

Through a Jewish Lens: An Argument for Safe, Legal Abortion

My name is Madisen Siegel. I am an 18-year- old, soon-to-be-registered voter in the first district of New York. As one of your constituents, and a young adult who just moved to New York–fresh from the malls and suburbia of northern New Jersey–I am concerned about your stance on healthcare, and I am asking you to re-think your position, especially when it comes to abortion. 

Facts Sometimes Have Feelings

“Torah Judaism does not support abortion, Torah Judaism does not support same-sex marriage,” right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro explained with a confident smirk to a cheering audience of Yeshiva University students. I expect it’s a lot easier to blindly subscribe to one binary view on what is seen as one of the most enigmatic documents in existence, rather than to actively engage with this foundational text, and question its claims. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Law." (Viewed on August 17, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/jewish-law>.

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