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September 2, 2015 | 18th Elul 5775
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Women's Torah Commentary

Contact: Donald Cohen-Cutler

NOW AVAILABLE: The Torah: A Women’s Commentary
Groundbreaking New Book Brings Women’s Voices to the Forefront of Scripture

SAN DIEGO, CA — Eve doesn’t have to take the blame any more! With the publication of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary the rich voice of women in our tradition will be heard loud and clear. Created in a partnership between the URJ Press and Women of Reform Judaism, this groundbreaking commentary presents the women’s side of our story.

“For thousands of years, interpreting Scripture and tradition was almost exclusively the province of men,” says Shelley Lindauer, Executive Director of the Women of Reform Judaism. “But, we’ve needed commentaries that speak to all people, and blend voices of men and women. This can only enrich and broaden the experience.”

For the past fourteen years, more than 100 theologians, historians, sociologists, scholars, anthropologists, poets, rabbis, and cantors from the United States, Canada, Israel and South America – all of them women – took a fresh look at the Torah. The result of their exhaustive research, thought, and discussion is an eminently readable, 1,500 page volume, unique in its synthesis of traditional interpretation methods and critical approaches with more contemporary, topical approaches that give new meaning to the text.

“In the contemporary selections, writers made the connection from the ancient text to the concerns of our lives today as Jewish women, “ notes Rabbi Hara Person, managing editor of the project. “Infertility, rape, dealing with parents, standing up for oneself – whatever the concerns are – there are thoughtful, beautiful and wise connections made.”

Dr. Tamara Cohn-Eskenazi, one of the book’s editors, adds: “We also wanted to bring the women of the Torah out from the shadows into in the limelight, from their silences into speech, from the margins to which they have often been relegated to the center of the page – for their sake, for our sake, and for our children’s sake. The Torah: A Women’s Commentary finally gives dimension to women’s voices in our tradition.

“The book makes a unique connection between the intellectual, emotional and spiritual by bringing all this scholarship in proximity to poetry,” notes Rabbi Person. “It’s right-brain-left-brain thinking.”

The idea for the book is traced to Cantor Sarah Sager from Beachwood, Ohio, who first proposed a women’s commentary on the Torah at a regional meeting of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhood in 1992. A year later, speaking to the WRJ assembly, Cantor Sager challenged the movement to undertake this project. Her dream came true this year. “It is a book that will benefit everyone and lend new relevance to the foundations of Biblical study and religious faith,” says Ms. Lindauer.

The Torah: A Women’s Commentary costs $75.00 and may be ordered in bulk by contacting or calling URJ Books & Music Customer Service at 212-650-4125. In the coming months, WRJ and URJ Press will provide study material and other products relating to the book designed to enhance the reader’s experience.


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