Sisters at Sinai
I’m currently reading Sisters at Sinai, by Jill Hammer and it’s so good I have to share it. I originally added it to my library queue (yes, I have a queue) because I was really impressed with Jill’s website, www.telshemesh.org. What’s interesting is that I’ve gotten to know her a little, and the book arrived the same day as the application for the Kohenet: Hebrew Priestess Training. It was an interesting moment of synchronicity.
The book is one of women’s midrash. In the book, Rabbi Jill explores familiar stories from the Bible and Talmud filling in more details and re-envisioning familiar stories — in the finest tradition of midrash writing. Not only are the stories moving as stories, but also they add new illuminations to the study of Torah and women’s place in Judaism.
I’ve now read through the book once and am on a second read. R. Jill put extensive notes about each story at the end of the book. I decided to read the whole thing through once, without reading the notes and then read it again with the commentary. I’m finding it quite interesting. With some stories I had enough context to pick up on some of the subtleties. In others, I missed the threads completely and have learned valuable new information by reading the notes.
I think my favorite story is the first, Havdalah, which is a story of Adam, Eve, and Lilith. I won’t tell you too much about it, because I don’t want to ruin the story for you. I really loved the majority of them, but this was the first — so it created the initial impression.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough.
[tags]books, midrash, telshemsh, sisters at sinai, women’s stories, women in the bibile, recommended reading, jewitch, earth-based judaism[/tags]