The Feminist Message of Parshat Va’etchanan The Ten Commandments


The Ten Commandments appear in the Torah twice: once in the Book of Exodus, in Parshat Yitro, and the second time in Deuteronomy, in Parshat Va’etchanan. The prohibition “Thou shalt not covet” in the Exodus version says “Do not covet the household of your neighbor”, and then lists the neighbor’s belongings: his “wife, his servants, his ox and his donkey.” In Deuteronomy the prohibition is somewhat different. It states, first and foremost, “Thou shalt not covet your neighbor’s wife”, and only then “thou shalt not covet the household of your neighbor”. Why the difference? Read more on how sacred texts change to reflect evolving morality.

Superwoman: Professor Renee Levine Melammed on a 17th-Century Woman’s Kabbalistic Powers


Can sexuality be taken out of the yeshiva? A few months ago we learned how Asenath Barazani, a woman and a decisor of Jewish law, became the head of a yeshiva in 17th-century Mosul, Kurdistan. Dr. Renée Levine Melammed, Professor of Jewish History, continues Asenath’s story sharing information about two amulets that imbued this mysterious leader with Kabbalistic powers.

Rav or Rabbah: Choosing Titles in the Rabbinate


Midrash Sifre teaches that the Israelites left Egypt with Miriam at their lead: “when you left Egypt”: the time of your redemption, the tribes traveled only when Miriam preceded them (Sifre Deut. 275).  She is one of the important women in the Passover story.  In her essay, Rabbi Sara Cohen, ordained in 2017 by the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary discussed the different titles Israeli women take on when they become rabbis.

Are All Women Leaders Feminists? Professor Bat-Sheva Margalit Stern on Women's Leadership


Dr. Bat-Sheva Margalit Stern, associate professor of history at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, contrasts the leadership of Meir, who disavowed feminism, with the leadership of Ada Fishman Maimon, an advocate of feminism, one of the founders of Women Workers Movement and a member of Knesset. Watch the video to learn more about Meir and Maimon’s differing leadership styles.

Was Beatriz Convicted? Professor Renée Levine Melammed and the Case of the Mysterious Midwife


This month marks the 482nd anniversary of the start of the trials of Beatriz Rodriguez – a 16th century Castilian midwife tried numerous time by the inquisitors of Toledo.  Dr. Renée Levine Melammed, Professor of Jewish History, describes how she first began researching women of the Spanish Inquisition.