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Yentl's Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism Paperback – October 10, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ruttenberg, a San Francisco-based writer and contributing editor to the Jewish feminist journal Lilith, has assembled a provocative collection of impassioned essays by an unorthodox group of young Jewish feminists. The 20 writers wrestle with a wide range of issues from mainstream concerns like identity and Zionism, to edgier ones such as witchcraft and transgender theory. Particularly challenging is Haviva Ner-David's "Parenting as a Religious Jewish Feminist." Having grown up feeling "marginalized and irrelevant," Ner-David is now studying with an Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem for rabbinic ordination. She prays with the male accouterments of phylacteries and prayer shawl, and has taken part in other traditionally male rituals. Attuned to the discomfort she produces in other observant Jews, she expresses ambivalence about imposing her customs on her daughters. Loolwa Khazzoom, a Jew of Iraqi descent, describes the alienation she felt sitting behind the women's prayer partition and in the face of condescension from Jews of European descent. Like the other writers here, instead of simply rejecting Judaism, Khazzoom is actively involved in redefining her Jewishness, currently working as program coordinator of the Jewish Multicultural Education Project when she is not singing and playing bass for her all-girls band. A left-wing religious Jew, Emily Wages takes on those progressive Jews who identify Judaism with oppression, patriarchy and xenophobia, while they honor other religions and cultures. With an upbeat foreword by noted Jewish scholar and feminist Susannah Heschel, this cutting-edge anthology is a welcome testament to how Jewish Gen-X women are finding their own distinctive voices.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Product Details

  • Series: Live Girls
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Seal Press (October 10, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580050573
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580050579
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #376,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg is the author of Nurture the Wow: Finding Spirituality in the Frustration, Boredom, Tears, Poop, Desperation, Wonder, and Radical Amazement of Parenting (Flatiron Books, 2016) and Surprised By God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion (Beacon Press), the latter of which was nominated for the Sami Rohr Prize in Jewish Literature.

In 2013, Newsweek and The Daily Beast named her as one of ten "rabbis to watch." In 2010, the Forward recognized her as one of the top 50 most influential women rabbis, and the Jewish Week recognized her as one of the "36 Under 36″ (36 most influential leaders under age 36).

She is also editor of The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism (NYU Press) and Yentl's Revenge: The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism (Seal Press); and co-editor, with Rabbi Elliot Dorff, of three books on Jewish ethics: Sex and Intimacy (JPS); War and National Security (JPS, August 2010); and Social Justice (JPS, August 2010).

Her work has appeared in a wide range of venues, including The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, the Best Jewish Writing series, and the new edition of Encyclopedia Judaica. Rabbi Ruttenberg lives in the Chicago area with her family and teaches and lectures nationwide. More information about her, as well as contact information, can be found at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Avraham Ibn-Ishak on March 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was deeply moved by this provocative and absolutely necessary book. Ruttenberg has done a great job in selecting these essays. However, i was able to identify strongly with one specific essay. The one by Loolwa Khazoom, a jewish woman of iraqi descent. Being a jew from yemeni origin, i have found myself constantly struggling to preserve my yemenite jewish upbringing and redefining Jewishness for myself. Living in North America makes it even more difficult to communicate that we are Jews and yet entitled to our Middle Eastern difference. And that we are Arabs and yet entitled to our religious difference, like Arab Christians and Arab Muslims. For me, jewishness wasn't always ashkenazi. I never heard of a dreidel, even though I love bagels i don't understand a word of yiddish.
To me, jewishness was almost always inextricably linked to middle-easterness.For those of us who don't hide our Middle Easterness under one Jewish "we," it becomes tougher and tougher to exist in an American context hostile to the very notion of Easterness. As an Arab Jew, I am often obliged to explain the "mysteries" of this oxymoronic entity. That we have spoken Arabic, not Yiddish; that for millennia our cultural creativity, secular and religious, had been largely articulated in Arabic(as well as judeo-arabic and aramaic. Maimonides being one of the few middle-eastern Jewish intellectuals to "make it" into the consciousness of the West. His famous "Guide to the perplexed" was written in arabic under the title "Dalalat Al-Hai'reen"); and that even the most religious of our communities in the Middle East and North Africa never expressed themselves in Yiddish-accented Hebrew prayers, nor did they practice liturgical-gestural norms and sartorial codes favouring the dark colours of centuries-ago Poland.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on March 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
Deftly compiled and edited by Danya Ruttenberg, Yentle's Revenge: The Next Wave Of Jewish Feminism is an impressive collection of essays by women in their 20s and 30s who are changing the very meaning of what it is to be Jewish. The range of thoughtful, informative, and challenging contributions offer a range of perspectives from former riot grrls to judeo-pagan witches to young Orthodox mothers. The wide ranging and diverse issues covered include circumcision, intermarriage, and the stereotype of the Jewish American Princess. Also chronicled are searches for faith, detailed intolerance, and defying expectations. Enhanced with a preface by Susannah Heschel (editor of "On Being A Jewish Feminist) and a glossary of Yiddish and Hebrew terminology, Yentl's Revenge is a welcome and seminal contribution to feminist studies in general, and the changing roles and perceptions of Jewish women entering the 21st Century in particular.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ruttenberg has collected 20 well-crafted essays dealing with a broad range of Jewish feminist concerns. Many are thoughtful responses to the obvious sexism of Jewish law; others range more widely, from Eve vs. Lilith to an examination of what, exactly, a Jewish sexual ethics might entail. Required reading for any Jewish feminist (no matter how secular), and sure to be of interest to many others as well.
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