The groundbreaking volume The Torah: A Women's Commentary, originally published by URJ Press and Women of Reform Judaism, has been awarded the top prize in the oldest Jewish literary award program, the 2008 National Jewish Book Awards. A work of great import, the volume is the result of 14 years of planning, research, and fundraising.
THE HISTORY: At the 39th Women of Reform Judaism Assembly in San Francisco, Cantor Sarah Sager challenged Women of Reform Judaism delegates to "imagine women feeling permitted, for the first time, feeling able, feeling legitimate in their study of Torah." WRJ accepted that challenge. The Torah: A Women's Commentary was introduced at the Union for Reform Judaism 69th Biennial Convention in San Diego in December 2007.
WRJ has commissioned the work of the world's leading Jewish female Bible scholars, rabbis, historians, philosophers and archaeologists. Their collective efforts resulted in the first comprehensive commentary, authored only by women, on the Five Books of Moses, including individual Torah portions as well as the Hebrew and English translation.
The Torah: A Women's Commentary gives dimension to the women's voices in our tradition. Under the skillful leadership of editors Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea Weiss, PhD, this commentary provides insight and inspiration for all who study Torah: men and women, Jew and non-Jew. As Dr. Eskenazi has eloquently stated, "we want to bring the women of the Torah from the shadow into 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 is a work that causes us to ask difficult questions, to look at our Torah in new and exciting ways, and continues the important work of giving voice to all within klal Yisrael. - "Leading Torah Study: Framing the Message" by Rabbi Jeremy Weisblatt, Assistant Rabbi at Temple Sholom of Chicago
Read the Press Release below:
The Torah: A Women's Commentary is the culmination of fourteen years of work by more than 100 female theologians, historians, sociologists, scholars, anthropologists, poets, rabbis, and cantors from the United States, Canada, Israel, and South America. 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 methods that give new meaning to the text.