Resources for Jewish Women


Siddur Nashim, a Sabbath Prayer Book for Women, emphasizing the tender, nurturing aspects of God, has been written by Naomi Janowitz and Maggie Wenig of the Brown University Women’s Minyan. The all-English prayer book follows the general order of the Sabbath service and includes original psalms and a prayer on menstruation. It is written in modern poetic language identifying God as “She,” bringing a whole new spirit to prayer. The authors hope the prayer book will be part of a process of Jewish women’s rethinking and rewriting of prayer. The experimental draft form, 96 mimeographed pages, is available for $8. Make checks payable to Maggie Wenig and mail to

Maggie Wenig, Box 5030, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

The final issue of Lilith’s Rib, former newsletter of the North American Jewish Feminist Organization, was published in November, 1975. Anyone interested in this 12-page collector’s item, send one 13¢ stamp to

Lilith’s Rib, P.O. Box 60142, Chicago, IL 60660

The Reform movement’s new home prayer book, Gates of the House, by Rabbi Chaim Stern, makes some modest moves toward a less sexist language of worship. For example, “God of our fathers” is now “God of all generations.” The prayer book, with Hebrew, English, and some transliteration, is simultaneously more traditional and more modern than the Reform home prayer book published in 1951. New additions include both a Havdalah service ushering out the Sabbath and a “Covenant of Life” ceremony welcoming a baby girl into Judaism on the eighth day after birth. Gates of the House runs 296 pages and costs $6.95 (leatherette gift edition, $7.50). From

UAHC Publications Dept., 838 Fifth Ave., Dept. L, New York, NY 10021

The American Jewish Committee has published a brief bibliography on “The Jewish Woman in the Community.” The seven-page annotated pamphlet compiled by Library Director Cyma M. Horowitz covers a range of religious and organizational issues appearing over the past few years in books and magazine articles. Single copies are 25 cents from

American Jewish Committee, 165 E. 56 St., Dept. L, New York, NY 10022

For do-it-yourselfers, the Task Force on Equality of Women in Judaism of the New York Federation of Reform Synagogues has compiled a six-page “Glossary of Substitute Terminology.” It lists the masculine terms commonly found in the Union Prayer Book (but applicable to almost every other prayer book as well) along with a sampling of major prayers and suggests substitute language. For example, “Almighty, Protector, Creator, Parent, Holy One,” are suggested substitutes for “Lord” and “Father,” and adding “Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel” is recommended wherever “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” appear. And, for the record, Rabbi Chaim Stern, editor of Gates of the House, says, “I am now persuaded that it is illegitimate to use masculine language about God.” The “Glossary” is available without charge from

Annette Daum, Co-ordinator, Religious Action Department, New York Federation of Reform Synagogues, 838 Fifth Avenue, Dept. L, New York, NY 10021

In Philadelphia, statistics on where women are—and aren’t—are now available in Bringing Women In: A Survey of the Evolving Role of Women in Jewish Organizational Life in Philadelphia. Prepared by Rela Geffen Monson, the data include the percentage of boards with women officers, administrative positions filled by women and much more. The 15-page book prepared by the American Jewish Committee of Philadelphia’s Committee on the Role of Women in the Jewish Community is available for $1.20 from

The American Jewish Committee of Philadelphia, 1502 Fox Building, 1612 Market St., Dept. L, Philadelphia, PA 19103

An anthology of the poetry of Jewish women through the ages is being compiled by Marcia Spiegel of Rolling Hills Estates in California. Along with modern poems, it will include poetry from the second century B.C.E. along with women’s poetry preserved from the 12th, 17th and 18th centuries, and Holocaust writing. One of the themes that has emerged is women talking to God, occasionally to praise but more often in anger, Ms. Spiegel hopes that the anthology will be one step in helping Jewish women see their potential beyond that of the usual Jewish stereotypes. Any profits from the anthology will go to help the Temple Menorah Sisterhood of Redondo Beach, CA to continue Jewish education programs. Poetry is invited for possible inclusion in the anthology. Poems can be sent to

Marcia Spiegel, 4856 Ferncreek Dr., Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274

“Who Hast Not Made Me A Man”: The Movement for Equal Rights for Women in American Jewry by Anne Lapidus Lerner is an extremely useful study of the progress of the Jewish women’s movement in all areas of American Jewish life—the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative branches of American Judaism, Jewish organizations and schools. The author, Instructor in Modern Hebrew Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary, concludes that the American Jewish women’s movement “must be confronted and accommodated to ensure the survival of American Jewry.” The article appears in the 1977 edition of the American Jewish Year Book, and is available in pamphlet form for $1 from

The American Jewish Committee, Institute of Human Relations, 165 East 56 St, Dept. L, New York, NY 10022

Women to Women

The Boston Jewish Feminist C-R Group, which developed out of the First National Jewish Women’s Conference in 1973, will assist women in the area interested in forming a C-R group. Phone (617) 491-7131.

One of the women active in the group, Eva Fogelman, is leading an Experiential and Didactic Group on the Life Cycle of the Jewish Woman. For information on joining such a short-term group, phone (617) 731-2883.

The Women’s Minyan of St. Louis celebrated its first anniversary in February. They meet for traditional services the first Sabbath of each month at 6983 Cornell, University City, MO 63130. They welcome any information on Orthodox authorities who consider 10 women as constituting a minyan (i.e., the group can include the kedushah, barechu and kaddish in their services). Write to

Phyllis Shapiro, 7251 Princeton, St. Louis, MO 63130

Women interested in the Belgian Jewish Feminist Movement, G.R.A.F.E.J., should contact

Monique Chalude, 177, avenue Armand Huysmans, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, Telephone 6400499

The Berkeley Jewish Women’s Alliance (BJWA) is organizing study groups exploring women’s relation to the liturgy, women in Israel, and sexism in Jewish education. The BJWA, now in its second year, is also establishing a library and speakers’ bureau. Women interested in BJWA activities should phone (415) 843-5283 or 548-6609.

A new women’s minyan was recently formed at Harvard and Radcliffe. The minyan meets every other Sabbath for Minchah services and a discussion of a topic relating to Jewish women. Those interested should contact

Tamar Stern, 18 Ware St. Apt. 23, Cambridge, MA 02138

If you’ve wanted to have a Bat Mitzvah but never had one, now’s your chance. The New York Jewish Women’s Center is planning a program to prepare women for Bat Mitzvah. The Center invites women in the New York area to help with programming suggestions for the coming year. This past year’s programs included personal effectiveness training; exploration of our sexuality and sensuality; and Zero Population Growth and Jewish survival. Classes included surveys of the Jewish woman, historic and modern, and ritual skills. For information contact

New York Jewish Women’s Center, 299 Riverside Drive, Apt. 3D, New York, NY 10025 (212) 666-5340

Women in the Greater Hartford, Conn, area interested in Jewish women’s consciousness raising groups should contact Sarina during the day at (203) 522-8265.

The New York Jewish Women’s Center holds traditional, halachic women’s services once a month at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings at Congregation Shaare Zedek, 212 West 93rd St. (at West End Ave.). Services will continue during the summer. The center is also planning creative services not bound by halachic restrictions. For details, telephone (212) 666-5340.

Workshops on “The Jewish Woman—A Feminist Perspective” are being given in the Stamford University area by Nancy Imberman Tamler and Sherry Crandon-Graef. Both have MA’s in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. Ms. Tamler is a traditionally observant Jew integrating Judaism and feminism, and Ms. Crandon-Graef is a cultural Jew and feminist.

Their current series at Stanford Hillel’s Lehrhaus Judaica, includes workshops on a new look at the Creation myth along with Biblical role models, women in the Talmudic era, and law and ritual. Their series at the South Peninsula Jewish Community Center is a more personal approach dealing with the stereotypes of the Jewish Mother and the Jewish American Princess, relationships with other Jewish women, and the sharing of poetry, food and an original concluding ritual.

Future workshops are planned in addition to a women’s minyan for Stanford University women. For information contact

Nancy Imberman Tamler, 4164 Campana Dr., Palo Alto, CA 94306, (415) 493-3426

Mellow Drama

Sally Fox is a 24-year-old free-lance playwright and dramatist who performs her plays and monologues for Jewish women’s groups and other organizations across the country. The group provides the topic, mood, time limit (and fee) and Fox writes and performs a play that will excite and motivate the audience. Long Island-born Fox has performed at temples, university classes, restaurants, Hillels, feminist groups and women’s organizations, including B’nai B’rith Women. For further information and play requisition forms write

Sally Fox, POB 3309 O.S.U. ST A., Columbus, Ohio 43210

Storyteller Peninnah Schram, well-known to children who have heard her spin out folk tales and legends at the Jewish Museum, the Yeshiva University Museum and on radio, can be heard on the new record “A Storyteller’s Journey.” The five stories illustrating five of the 10 commandments are from Molly Cone’s children’s book Who Knows Ten? The stories avoid the usual Jewish stereotypes. The storyteller’s favorite, “The Princess Who Wanted to See God,” illustrates the second commandment, “Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me.” The record costs $5.95 and the cassette, $6.95 plus 65¢ postage. (New York City and State residents add the appropriate tax.) Order from

Pomegranate Records Dept. L, 525 West End Ave., Suite 8C, New York, NY 10024, (212) 787-0626

Everything You Always Wanted to Know

Help is at hand for Jewish parents who want to welcome their baby girl into Judaism with all the traditional importance of the baby boy’s “bris.”

Blessing the Birth of a Daughter: Jewish Naming Ceremonies for Girls has just been published by Toby Reifman with Ezrat Nashim (“Help for Women”), one of the first Jewish feminist groups. The 20-page booklet is available for $2 from

Toby Reifman, Dept. L, 231 Sunset Avenue, Englewood, NJ 07631

A consultant service is also available for personalized covenantal and naming ceremonies for baby girls. For advice in developing and performing your own ceremony, write to Jewish Theological Seminary students

Nina Cardin and Carol Glass, 299 Riverside Drive Apt. 3D, New York, NY 10025

Include your name, address, telephone number and the best time for them to phone.