Tucked away at the end of a small road on Kibbutz Gezer in Israel’s dusty midlands, Rabbi Miri Gold’s kitchen smells like a bakery. On the coffee table is a plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies. As she dons her mittens to pull two enormous quiches off the rack, Gold explains that cooking has always been one of her passions. In the first article ever written about her she was dubbed “Rav Cookie,” and she even met her husband, David Leichman, when they worked together to establish the budding kibbutz’s kitchen in the late 1970s.
For decades, a charge against the rabbis who perform marriages on behalf of Israel's Chief Rabbinate has gone unanswered: That the rabbi did nothing to add to the joy, meaning and beauty of a wedding celebration. On June 15, the Masorti/Conservative movement launched a media blitz that confronted the Rabbinate on this issue head on.
Women who join the rabbinate may be venerated as spiritual and feminist icons, but what about a woman who tries out being a rabbi and can't handle it? That's one of many questions Amy Sohn's novel, "My Old Man" (Simon & Schuster, $23) explores.