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Jewish Law

Miri Shalem of Beit Shemesh and dance as a tool of social change

Before most of us ever heard of the small town of Beit Shemesh, Miri Shalem the orthodox mother of four children and a long-time resident was directing the town’s JCC.

Paula Hyman, 1946 - 2011

 Despite talking on occasion about death, and Paula telling me that rarely did a day go by that she did not think about her own mortality, like most people I preferred to imagine that we all would live forever, or at least long enough.

Paula crammed so much life and accomplishments into her 65 years. She tasted many pleasures, including some—like grandchildren—she had not assumed that she would experience.

Our Bodies, Ourselves: The Manual and The Mystery

The subject of a woman’s body, even in its most intimate functions, was not taboo in the orthodox Jewish world of my upbringing.

Tikva Frymer-Kensky, 1943 - 2006

Dr. Frymer-Kensky was a unique and brilliant thinker who constantly pushed herself and her students to think outside of commonly accepted boundaries. She possessed an incredibly deep knowledge of the ancient Near East—so much so, that, in listening to her lectures one often felt that she lived as much in that world as in this one. What made her powerful, though, was not only the amount of her knowledge. Dr. Frymer-Kensky exemplified the scholar who believes that the ancient should also serve the present. She wrote about the past and, in doing so, tried to transform the present.

First Torah commissioned to be scribed entirely by women is read in Seattle

October 16, 2010

The Kadima Reconstructionist Jewish Community in Seattle read from the first Torah ever commissioned to be written by women, and the first ever to be written by a group of women, known as the Women's Torah Project.

Moving Inward: bringing liberation movements into the Jewish community

Act out, through tableaux vivants, the ways Jews took what they had learned from the Civil Rights Movement and other liberation movements and used these insights to change the Jewish community.

Torah Study

The commandment of Torah study is a positive Biblical precept.

Tamar: Midrash and Aggadah

The Rabbis spare no criticism of Judah and his sons, pointing out the sins that were responsible for their bitter fate, but they display a different attitude toward Tamar. Although her behavior could be interpreted as an act of sexual licentiousness and wantonness, the midrashim defend Tamar and praise her.


Written histories of the Jews in Spain have rarely included women. When dealing with Jewish women in Spain, the available sources range from poems, letters, and rabbinic literature to Latinate wills, court records and Inquisition documents.


The rabbinic discourse of sex has been at one and the same time both empowering and sharply disabling for women. In constraining all women to be wives and mothers, the possibilities for women’s lives have been severely constrained and to a great extent women’s roles have been denigrated as well.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Law." (Viewed on March 18, 2018) <>.


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