A weekly roundup of great content by Jewish women during the week of parasha Bereishit, 5780!
Firstly, check out a list of commentaries on the parasha here. I’m also working my way through Ellen Frankel’s Five Books of Miriam as I read the Torah this year, which is already proving to be a fantastic accompaniment.
In this Hey Alma article, Abby Seitz discusses how Shemini Atzeret helped her to come to terms with a new diagnosis.
On Kveller, Sarah Chen reflects on her experiences celebrating Simchat Torah in an actual closet in Taipei. I got engaged in Taipei so was thrilled to read a Jewish story about the city (which is fantastic, do go!).
Rabbi Eryn London writes on the JOFA blog about how Simchat Torah, which is meant to be a joyous holiday, can be miserable for women prohibited from fully participating in the festivities:
“Simchat Torah is the day that reminds me that most people think that the Torah “belongs” to men, and it will never be mine no matter how much I and others might fight.”
She longs for a time when “my interaction with the Torah is not a political statement” because Simchat Torah should be a celebration for all Jews. I both danced with and read from the Torah this chag, and strongly felt that the Torah belongs to me, too.
Jenny Slate’s new Netflix special, Stage Fright, was released this week! Unsurprisingly, it’s super Jewish and hilarious, and is also a beautiful portrayal of Jenny’s relationship with her family. Emily Burack wrote a great article in Hey Alma about it, but I would recommend that you watch it for yourself!
Finally, on the anniversary of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, Jordana Rosenfeld wrote a beautiful story for Jewish Currents about joining the Pittsburgh chevra kadisha (burial society) following the tragedy. The care involved for the recently deceased and for Jewish culture and tradition reveals the best of humanity and our tradition in the face of hate. As Rosenfeld writes:
“Our burial practices offer more than a way of dealing with the dead, more even than a connection to tradition. They are active antifascism, standing in defiance of the dehumanization of ourselves and others.”