As Cantor Sarah J. Sager began her research, she found there were many people -- both women and men -- who were thinking about the silence of women in the Jewish tradition, and working to create "a sense of women's presence at the most important moments of our history and in our most sacred text," Sager later wrote. But there was no one place to find all that commentary. Fifteen years later, the WRJ is publishing "The Torah: A Women's Commentary," edited by Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, a professor at the Los Angeles branch of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.
Two years ago, Andy Abrams was startled to notice a 20-something colleague tattooed with the Hebrew word, shechina. The woman hadn't been raised in an observant household, like Abrams: "Yet she not only chose a word heavy with religious meaning, she chose a style of script only found in the Torah," he said. Her intention wasn't to show off a hipper-than-thou take on Judaism, a la Heeb magazine, or the kind of in-your-face ethnicity popularized by films such as "The Hebrew Hammer."
"It was her identification with Jewish feminism and with some sense of the divine," Abrams said. "And the word meant so much to her that she was willing to permanently ink it on her body."