Four sessions: Jan 5, Jan 12, Jan 19, Jan 26 2016.
This mini-series will focus on Midrash written by Israeli women about relationships between women. Midrash literally, “searching out,” is the classical form of Jewish Bible interpretation pioneered by ancient rabbis, creating a moral and existential connection between the original text and its readers in their day.
Tamar Biala co-edited the first ever volume of midrash written by Israeli women. This collection, titled “Dirshuni”, has already taken a place on the Jewish bookshelf and is being cited, taught and argued over in yeshivot, high schools, synagogues, the press alternative batei midrash, universities and even Army educational programs. It is a precious fruit of the revolution in women’s Torah learning. The Midrashim deal head on with issues of social justice and the treatment of women by Jewish law and rabbinic authority, and offer deep and wide-ranging discussions of Biblical personalities, women’s religious roles, sexuality and fertility, prayer, the meaning of Torah study, and more.
Tamar will give an overview of Dirshuni, telling the moving story of collecting and publishing women’s midrashim. She will then delve into midrashim written by women, that deal specifically with the relationships between women. Texts will be provided in both English and Hebrew. Each class with include a related song, and will include words and transliterations.
Tamar Biala is engaged with Jewish feminism as a writer and lecturer. She received her BA in Jewish studies and in literature at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and her MA in Women’s Studies and Jewish Studies at the Schechter Institute. Her MA thesis, directed by professor Tamar Ross, was on “Feminist Theology’s Critique of Divine Transcendence as a Means of Changing Conceptions of the ‘Self.”’ Ms. Biala has taught at IASA, Jerusalem’s high school for gifted students, at the Hartman Institute’s teacher training program, in pluralistic batei midrash in Israel and for the IsraelDefense Forces. She also served for several years on the board of Kolech, the Religious Women’s Forum, under whose auspices she developed high school curricula for the empowerment of young women in which she trained teachers, and curricula for sex and family education for both young men and young women. She is the co-editor ofDirshuni: Midrashei Nashim (Yediot Acharonot and the Jewish Agency for Israel, 2009), the first-ever collection of Midrashim written by contemporary Israeli women. While at the HBI, Ms. Biala edited the second volume of Dirshuni, which contains dozens of new Midrashim, written by a wide and changing range of authors. In the fall or 2013, Tamar was a scholar-in-residence at the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute.
Event Location: Kerem Shalom
659 Elm St., Concord, Massachusetts, 01742
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