This Gender, Torah and Tradition project is part of the JTS Hendel Center for Ethics and Justice and funded by an anonymous donor. It includes 22 Fellows from across JTS' five schools, alumni in positions of leadership throughout the Jewish community, board members, faculty and adjunct faculty from JTS' Rabbinic Literatures and Cultures department.
Over the course of ten months, we met regularly in small groups to examine how an attentiveness to gender influences the study of our texts and traditions.
Each of us chose to study texts that we have struggled with at some point in our teaching or professional careers or as students thinking about how to find meaning in them.
We were all searching to develop a new language of interpretation that would enable us as communal educators and leaders to critically and creatively engage traditional texts that are patriarchal, misogynist, and heteronormative.
We created safe spaces to bring our emotions, struggles, worries, and religious spirits to the endeavor. We explored rabbinic texts in comparison to the world in which we live in order to think not only about what we find problematic in the Talmud, but also to locate points of inspiration.
We initiated this project because we think it is key to the growth of the kind of gender equity necessary for nourishing our religious selves.
We are committed to forming and sustaining communities that value respect, care, and kindness. In this collection you will find some of the best of what we discussed together.
We encourage others to create similar study groups devoted to teaching across differences and write essays containing curricular ideas intended to enhance our understanding of one another and ourselves.