by Jennifer Breger, JOFA Journal
Many recent novels have focused on the lives of women of the Jewish past, including female biblical figures. In this volume, Alice Becker Lehrer, who teaches at the David Weissman Institute of Montreal’s Bronfman Jewish Education Center, “conducts interviews” with a range of women from Tanakh and Jewish history. The author’s focus is to show how the stories can serve to inspire us today. Her fictionalized interviews allow each woman to, as it were, “relate her own story from an individual standpoint.” The “subjects” span biblical figures including Tamar and Tzipporah, women from the rabbinic period such as Rachel, wife to Rabbi Akiva, and women from later centuries such as Rashi’s daughters and Henrietta Szold. Each imaginary interview is preceded by a short introduction that puts the interviewee in textual and historical context. The biblical interviews skillfully draw upon traditional commentaries and midrashic texts to bring the chosen subjects to life.
The original article may be found in the Fall 2010 Journal here.