Unlocking the Garden: A Feminist Jewish Look at the Bible, Midrash, and God, is a collection of 15 articles which are exemplars of state of the art of feminist Jewish interpretation of biblical texts. In these articles Naomi Graetz explores some of the reasons why biblical women are extolled in post-biblical sources when they adhere to their prescribed roles yet deprecated by these same midrashic sources when they speak up. The author demonstrates that much of present-day thinking about Jewish marriage is conditioned by metaphors. She discusses the theological implications of the dangerous marriage metaphor which describes God and Israel in an abusive husband and wife relationship and addresses the problem of God's responsibility for Israel's suffering.
Graetz combats the approach of rabbinical midrash not only by critique but by writing Jewish midrash that is consciously feminist in its intent.
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.
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- A feminist Jewish Interpretation of the Bible
- Dinah the Daughter
- Did Miriam Talk Too Much?
- Metaphors Count
- Is Kinyan Only A Metaphor?
- God is to Israel as a Husband is to Wife: The Metaphoric Battling of Hosea's Wife
- Will the Real Hagar Please Stand Up?
- A Midrashic Lens on Biblical Women
- Jerusalem the Widow
- The Barrenness of Miriam: A Midrash on the Haftara of Ki Tetzeh
- Feminist Jewish Reconstruction of Prayer
- Modern Midrash Unbound: Who's Not Afraid of Goddess Worship?
- Akeda Revisited
- Vashti Unrobed
- A Passover Triptych