A contemporaneous and religiously meaningful retelling of biblical stories by a feminist who looks at intimate lives of people inhabiting the Bible. She rediscovers a past in which biblical women actively participated and suggests women’s leadership might lead to a better world.
6 x 9
S/He Created Them is a feminist retelling of biblical stories, the purpose of which is to make the Bible contemporaneous, relevant and religiously meaningful. The tales look at the intimate lives and thoughts of the characters who populate the Bible by retelling each story in contemporary language, sometimes adding dialogue and description, and at other times recovering and reinventing tales. Some of the stories deal with the typical feminine concerns of motherhood, barrenness, resentment about polygamy, the after-effects of being raped, the joys of shared gossip, the tribulations of the aging process, and the unique relationship of siblings.
The stories also dwell on the tensions between relatives such as Isaac and
Ishmael, Rachel and Leah, Sarah and Mrs. Lot, Miriam and her mother Yocheved. The characters being portrayed are complete persons without being idealized, often petty and troublesome.
The order of the midrashim is chronological. They start with a moving
account of Adam and Eve's confusion at being kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and end with Deborah the Judge's self-portrayal of her own loneliness and the challenges of being a female leader in a patriarchal society.
Naomi Graetz is consciously feminist when she attempts to imaginatively rediscover a past in which biblical women were active participants and suggests that women's form of leadership might lead to a better world. Naomi Graetz
is the author of
The Rabbi's Wife Plays at Murder
(Shiluv Press, 2004);
S/He Created Them: Feminist Retellings of Biblical Stories
(Gorgias Press, 2003) and
Silence is Deadly: Judaism Confronts Wifebeating
(Jason Aronson, 1998). She has written many articles about women and metaphor in the Bible and Midrash. She writes and does workshops about "difficult texts" that are part of Jewish tradition. Graetz has been teaching critical reading skills at Ben-Gurion University in the English Department since 1974. She describes herself as a feminist Jew who is grounded both in Jewish tradition and feminist thought who has to grapple with problems of modernity while seeing the value of tradition. Her latest areas of interest are: what Jewish texts have to say about trafficking in women, and interfaith interpretations of texts. She is writing a book with Rabbi Cathy Felix about when rabbis are married to rabbis.