Taking Up the Timbrel
The Challenge of Creating Ritual for Jewish Women Today
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In this book, which is a successor to Hear Our Voice: Women Rabbis Tell their Stories, published by SCM Press in 1994, women rabbis give new understanding to old liturgy by using prayer and biblical verse in new contexts, and create new rituals to cover those many circumstances in life where women yearn for a prayer and find themselves without.
Taking up the Timbrel first discusses the creation of ritual. Then come 'Rituals of Home and Person', covering matters ranging from preparing an autistic boy for the Seder to how to pray when one can't pray. 'Fertility' has rituals for the beginning of menstruation, pregnancy,the moment of birth and welcoming a daughter. 'Infertility' responds in ritual to childlessness, the loss of a baby and the termination of a pregnancy. 'Relationships and Change' is about marriage, between men and women and between women, and the breakdown of relationships.
Finally, 'In Pain and Healing' covers responses to such varied pains as depression, surgery and the death of pets. These rituals are not just for women, though they come out of women's experience. Nor are they just for Jews. Though they use specifically Jewish symbols, the experience of prayer and the use of ritual is a universal one.
"Not only does Taking up the timbrel introduce us to a variety of rituals, it also presents us with a variety of fascinating religious biographies.(...) They represent new features of piety, new religious role models that we seek and/or wish to become." Einat Ramon, NASHIM: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies and Gender Issues, Issue 1, 2004.
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