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Phyllis Chesler
Books By Phyllis

Women of the Wall

“Our souls yearn to pray, in peace, in the sacred place, to read from our holy Torah, together with other Jewish women.” In Israel today, the historic Western Wall, known as the Kotel, a holy site for Jewish people, is under the religious authority of the Orthodox rabbinate. Women have only limited rights to practice Jewish ritual in its precincts. This passionate book documents the legendary grassroots and legal struggle of a determined group of Jewish women from Israel, the United States, and other parts of the world―known as the Women of the Wall―to win the right to pray out loud together as a group, according to Jewish law; wear ritual objects; and read from Torah scrolls at the Western Wall. Eyewitness accounts of physical violence and intimidation, inspiring personal stories, and interpretations of legal and classical Jewish (halakhic) texts bring to life the historic and ongoing struggle that the Women of the Wall face in their everyday fight for religious and gender equality.

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"Years from now, when women's prayer service at the Kotel will have become an 'ordinary' privilege, this volume will help us remember how much faith, determination, wisdom, perseverance, passion, political savvy, and spiritual energy a small band of pluralist women invested to make it happen."
--Blu Greenberg, founding president of The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

"A remarkable, rich, comprehensive, and well-documented account of many of the major issues on the Jewish and Israeli agenda."
--Rabbi Uri Regev, executive director, World Union for Progressive Judaism

"A riveting set of personal testimonies. The reader is inspired by the women's single-minded pursuit of their goal and at the same time infuriated by their opponents' machinations."
--Judith Hauptman, the E. Billi Ivry Professor of Talmudic and Rabbinic Culture at The Jewish Theological Seminary

"A very significant contribution to the growing literature of religious feminism. A must reading for all those engaged in struggles for the change and transformation of their religious heritage. I highly recommend it."
--Dr. Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Krister Stendahl Professor, Harvard University Divinity School

"Beautifully captures the devotion, determination, and absolute necessity of the women who pray together at Jerusalem's holiest site."
--Francine Klagsbrun, author of The Fourth Commandment: Remember the Sabbath Day

"A must read for every woman who deeply cares about her Judaism."
--Naomi Ragen, author of Sotah

"This is an anthology for all reasons: a guidebook for organizers, a history of astounding events, a compendium of recollections vital to Jewish self-knowledge, and a model for sisterhood under stress."
--Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America

"Passion and courage radiate?showing that authentic sisterhood is possible and that it can accomplish seemingly impossible things by consensus, compromise, and compassion."
--Aviva Cantor, author of Jewish Women, Jewish Men: The Legacy of Patriarchy in Jewish Life

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