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Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism (HBI Series on Jewish Women) Paperback – May 1, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"This may be one of the most important works to date in tracking the changes in Judaism over the past 2000 years." ―

“Addressing the practical and the theological challenges that feminism poses to halakah, Ross offers a brilliant study, informed not only by ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish sources, but also by postmodernism, the history of feminism, process theology, mysticism, and legal theory . . . She finds the key to change in women's increasing knowledge of halakah, whose meaning women can transform by weaving a different narrative . . . Highly recommended.”―

“[Expanding the Palace of Torah is] a brave, in many ways radical and essential, attempt to deal with the problem seriously, and is a model of erudition and scholarship… Her book offers a powerful alternate theological vision that challenges some of the basic assumptions of the Orthodox Jewish world, and gives a glimpse of just how revolutionary feminism could be to Orthodoxy.”―

“Ross' conjoining of the patriarchal past with a feminist future in the single unfolding process of divine revelation is an unprecedented, and I would suggest brilliant, move in the world of Jewish feminism... this book is ground-breaking in the field of theology (Jewish, feminist and otherwise). It is beautifully written, masterfully insightful in its analysis of earlier feminist attempts to resolve a similar set of challenges and subtly brilliant in the presentation of its own solutions. I simply cannot say enough positive things about it. It is thought-provoking and sophisticated. I have no doubt that this book will become a standard textbook for courses on Jewish feminism.”―


“In this exceptional book, Ross brings together philosophical, theological, legal, and feminist writings, presenting a many faceted critique of Jewish legal developments and an account of the latest thinking on problematic issues. Writing as a passionately engaged Orthodox Jew, her approach is a refreshing combination of the critical and the respectful, and her solutions to the problems she raises are both provocative and eloquent. Writing in a postmodernist vein, she offers a quantum leap in her complex yet trenchant perspective on the challenge posed by feminism to the concept of Revelation.” (Aviva Gottlieb Zornberg, author of Genesis: the Beginning of Desire, winner of the National Jewish Book Award for nonfiction)

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Product Details

  • Series: HBI Series on Jewish Women
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Brandeis; 1 edition (May 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584653906
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584653905
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #743,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Adina on March 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this brilliant book, Tamar Ross explores theological questions essential to Orthodox Judaism with honesty and a deep commitment to the Orthodox tradition. She does a remarkable job of exploring the Feminist critique of Orthodox Judaism while maintaining that the tradition and its loyalty to halacha -- Jewish law -- are essential for the long-term survival of the Jewish people. Rejecting apologist rationalizations of a woman's sometimes difficult position in the tradition, she instead offers a powerful and satisfying alternative explanation of how to view women's issues within the tradition, a view based on respected and even revered sources in Orthodoxy itself. This book should be required reading for all thinking, searching and questioning Jewish women.
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