“Waiting for This Book All My Life”

Women of Reform Judaism are remaking Torah study in their own image. A chapter of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, went into circulation in November, ahead even of the official release of the whole project, and thousands of Jews in congregations across North America learned together in November from the Torah portion Chayei Sarah. The entire Women’s Commentary, with writings by major female rabbis and scholars in several fields, including Dr. Judith Baskin, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell and Dr. Rachel Adier, is slated for release in 2007. And while this edition of the five books of the Bible may concern itself with recognizing and including women’s scholarship, it is intended as a resource for all Jews.

Shelley Lindauer, executive director of WRJ, the sisterhood arm of the Reform movement, told Lilith that her office has already received more than a thousand emails praising the project. “Your news should remind the Jewish community how dramatic women’s advances in scholarship and education have been in ‘only’ three decades,” reads one. Another says, “I am 80 years old and I have been waiting for this book all my life.”