Women and American Judaism: Volume 1, Western Dominance, 1900-1945
Pamela S Nadell and Jonathan D Sarna, editors
In April 1998, the front page of the Los Angeles Times proclaimed that Jews "live in extraordinary times, when American women have transformed their status in Judaism, creating one of the most dramatic cultural shifts in centuries of Jewish history." At the end of the 20th century Jewish women had indeed redefined the ways they lived their Judaism: innovative religious ceremonies welcoming the birth of daughters proliferated, girls came to mark their bat mitzvah, and Jewish women turned out for feminist seders and became rabbis. As the 12 essays in this volume demonstrate, Jewish women from the colonial era to the present have continually reshaped their roles as Jews and as members of their synagogues and communities. Offering nothing less than a gendered overview of three centuries of American Jewish religious life, the authors raise key questions about how women from across the nation conceptualized their ideas of Jewish womanhood even as they transformed their roles at home, in synagogues, as volunteers, and in the public eye.