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Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation Paperback – August 15, 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (August 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813529166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813529165
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,469,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The office of rabbi is the most visible symbol of power and prestige in Jewish communities. Rabbis both interpret to their congregations the requirements of Jewish life and instruct congregants in how best to live this life.

Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation documents a monumental change in Jewish life as eighteen lesbian rabbis reflect on their experiences as trailblazers in Judaism's journey into an increasingly multicultural world. In frank and revealing essays, the contributors discuss their decisions to become rabbis and describe their experiences both at the seminaries and in their rabbinical positions. They also reflect on the dilemma whether to conceal or reveal their sexual identities to their congregants and superiors, or to serve specifically gay and lesbian congregations. The contributors consider the tensions between lesbian identity and Jewish identity, and inquire whether there are particularly "lesbian" readings of traditional texts. These essays also ask how the language of Jewish tradition touches the lives of lesbians and how lesbianism challenges traditional notions of the Jewish family.

About the Author

Rebecca T. Alpert is a rabbi and codirector of the women's studies program at Temple University. She is the author of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach and Like Bread on the Seder Plate: Jewish Lesbians and the Transformation of Tradition. Sue Levi Elwell is a rabbi and director of the Pennsylvania Council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations. She is the editor of the Jewish Women's Studies Guide. Shirley Idelson is a rabbi who serves as associate chaplain at Carleton College and associate for Jewish Life at Macalester College.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By David Taffet on October 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
A generation ago, the idea of a woman rabbi would have been unthinkable. Today, we have an entire group of not just women but lesbian rabbis who have become some of the most respected rabbis of our generation. As this book proves, they serve the Jewish community in a number of ways. Bringing disenfranchised Jews into creative, new synagoues, serving traditional congregations and working in a variety of fields helping Jews in ways only rabbis can.
The group of eighteen women who contributed to this book are pioneers in one sense but simply doing a traditional job that has evolved over several thousand years. The Library of Congress created a new category just for this book, but this is also a very traditional work. Exploring the role of the rabbi and how each individual has struggled to serve her community is a very traditional role for a rabbi.
The eighteen pieces included are personal and meaningful. The warmth of many of the women whom I know shines through in their work. The beauty and spirit of Judaism is alive in this first generation of Lesbian Rabbis.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Danielle Lampert on September 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book is an important part of the historical record documenting Jewish experience--particularly the experience of contemporary Jewish women. The rabbis who contributed essays tell incredible stories. I found them truly inspirational! As lesbians, some of these individuals risked being thrown out of rabbinical school and being fired from their jobs as rabbis. Several paid an extremely high price for their honesty. Others have experienced tremendous welcoming in the the Jewish communities where they function as rabbis. The writers are Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist, and they were ordained in the 70s, 80s and 90s so when you read the whole book you really get a sense of how things have been changing for lesbian and gay rabbis. I recommend the read!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jack on August 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
And by "long overdue" I am NOT referring to how long I have had this out of the Redwood City library! The authors take a very controversial stance throughout this book, risking their positions while assuming all sorts of positions, if you know what I mean. It was inevitable that this book would be written --I have been following its progress all along. Though I am not a lesbian and am not sure if I could ever be, I do know that if I was a lesbian and believed in Judiasm (which I don't, by the way) I only wish I could handle my faith and my sexual preferences as well as the authors. Kudos to them and kudos to all of you who will buy this book! It is truly a fantastic ride. Or read.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 16, 2001
Format: Paperback
What an important new book! The editors--pathmaking and wise lesbian rabbis themselves--have compiled an impressive collection. Understanding the special contributions and journeys of lesbian rabbis enriches immeasurably our knowledge of contemporary Jewish life and the contemporary rabbinate--and the possibilities in both.
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