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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Published June 1, 1990
Biographies & Memoirs, History, Religion & Spirituality.