Words on Fire by Vanessa L. Ochs

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Synopsis

When Vanessa Ochs begins to suspect her various physical ailments are due to her leading an ”unsanctified life,” she decides to travel to Jerusalem with her family to explore the sacred books of Judaism. Armed with a list of institutions and the names of women who specialize in teaching these sacred texts, Ochs sets out on a journey of discovery. She forges a personal relationship with her mentors, women who are determined to disprove the claim of Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus: ”The words of the Torah should be burnt rather than taught to women.” As her year in Jerusalem draws to a close, Ochs begins to find a way to reconcile her feminist views with her quest to live a life according to laws shaped by the ”sexist” views of traditional Judaism.Part scholarly investigation, part anecdotal memoir, Words on Fire is an accessible portrait of a remote world and a fascinating, firsthand account of the clash between feminism and Judaism.
 

About Vanessa L. Ochs

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Vanessa L. Ochs, Ph.D., is the Ida and Nathan Kolodiz Director of Jewish Studies at the University of Virginia. The recipient of a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she has written several books, including Words on Fire, and dozens of articles for national newspapers and magazines. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
 
Published June 1, 1990 by Harcourt. 328 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Words on Fire

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Does the Orthodox Jewish tradition have a place for women who study the Torah not just as an academic exercise but as a means of coming closer to God?

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Publishers Weekly

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Feminist and Yale scholar Ochs, who went to Israel to study sacred texts, discovered through female role models that women can play an active part in often male-dominated Jewish learning. ``Her observ

Jan 01 1992 | Read Full Review of Words on Fire

Publishers Weekly

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Feminist and Yale scholar Ochs, who went to Israel to study sacred texts, discovered through female role models that women can play an active part in often male-dominated Jewish learning.

| Read Full Review of Words on Fire

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