Weekly roundup – Lech Lecha

Group of Women of the Wall wearing tallitot during Rosh Chodesh prayers, 2013.

On Tablet, Alexandra Popoff reveals the remarkable story of Elena Rzhevskaya, a Soviet Jewish interpreter who helped to identify Hitler’s remains:

“Like other Soviet Jews at the time Elena was denied employment. She also faced an additional fear—she was one of the three witnesses of Adolf Hitler’s postmortem. Nonetheless, she recorded information about the search for Hitler.”

Israel Hayom features a thought-provoking interview with Yochi Rappeport, the Executive Director of Women of the Wall. The questioning is antagonistic at times, but Yochi demonstrates why she is such an inspirational advocate for women’s equality:

“We are women of faith who have come to pray every month for 31 years, in snow and in heat waves, when there were terrorist bombings and when there were security alerts, even at the cost of personal harm and violence against us. All we want is a respectful place to pray.”

On Alma, Emily Burack introduces us to Leah and Bea Koch, the Jewish sisters who run North America’s first romance-only bookstore. They also ran a fundraiser called ‘Tamponukkah’ to gather menstrual products for homeless shelters!

Also on Alma, Liat Wasserman discusses her struggle to feel comfortable wearing a tallit and tefillin:

‘My Jewish identity, and comfort with ritual observance, will continue to change. Maybe some days I’ll wear a tallit and/or tefillin, and some days I won’t. Either way, I’ll figure it all out at my own pace.’

Finally, Feminist Yomi has gathered a collection of commentaries by women on Lech Lecha.

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