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Praise Her Works: Conversations with Biblical Women Paperback – August 1, 2005

5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While preparing for her daughter's Bat Mitzvah, Adelman stumbled across a 13th-century Yemenite text called Midrash ha-Gadol (The Great Commentary), which referred to 22 righteous biblical women. Here Adelman, a women's studies professor at Brandeis, and several other writers offer meditations and musings on those 22 women, who include Sarah, Naomi and Ruth, as well as some unnamed women, like the wife of Noah and the Shunammite woman. (Adelman also includes Queen Vashti, who was not mentioned in the original Midrash ha-Gadol.) Each figure stars in her own chapter, which opens with the relevant passages from the original text. But the heart of each chapter is Adelman's and her colleagues' imaginings of what these women would say to us today. Miriam, for example, recalls how she felt when she crossed the Red Sea, and urges readers to "find God in all the people who surround you." Naomi encourages women to name and experience their grief and sorrows. Michal, one of the wives of King David, advises today's readers to "question the assumptions you make about what is valuable in women's lives." Adelman is to be congratulated for recovering a little-known medieval text and simultaneously creating a remarkable work of modern midrash.
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Review

"Adelman is to be congratulated for recovering a little-known medieval text and simultaneously creating a remarkable work of modern midrash."—Religion Bookline
(Religion Bookline)

"High praise to Adelman for this new collection. For general collections, high school collections, havurot and study groups, Rosh Chodesh groups."—Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
(Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 180 pages
  • Publisher: The Jewish Publication Society (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827608233
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827608238
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #747,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Portraits of 23 women from the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament) are woven into the tapestry of the Eishet Hayil, The Woman of Valor poem from Proverbs.The characteristics of each of the women are linked to a verse from the Woman of Valor poem. Some of these women are so obscure they were not even given names; they're identified by their places of origin or their husbands. The stories are midrashim, Biblical stories that are elaborated upon in the Talmud/the Oral Torah or by writers or historians. At the end of each story the Biblical woman is given a voice of her own. I especially liked the story of Vashti who is often treated negatively. In this case she is given the chance to defend herself. Even though this book is written by Orthodox Jewish women it has feminist overtones.
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Format: Paperback
I first read this book back in approximately 2006 when I took a course on women in the OT. We read this as an example of how Biblical women's stories can be used beyond what is merely in the texts. I recently found it at a library and checked it out again for a reread, and I remember why I loved it so much!

In sum, the book discuses 23 women of the Hebrew Bible (the so called "OT"), from the well-known such as Sarah to the obscure such as the wife of Obadiah. Each author (this is a compilation) not only retells each woman's story, but she also provides an excerpt through that woman's voice where she discusses her experiences and what wisdom she has to share from said experiences. So not only do you learn a lot more about the Bible, but you also get to look at these stories from a different perspective: from the women who were part of it.

What I also like about this book is that even though it is written from an Orthodox Jewish perspective, you certainly do not have to be Jewish to get something out of it. These stories and the women featured in these stories are so relatable and moving that I think any woman could find some inspiration and wisdom reading it. I remember when we discussed the book in my class, several Christians (both women and men) said that they were very inspired by this book, too. So even though the target audience appears to be Jewish women, I don't think you necessarily have to be Jewish to appreciate this one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very thoughtful read. Enjoyed the perspective.
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