The office of rabbi is the most visible symbol of power and prestige in Jewish communities. Rabbis both interpret to their congregations the requirements of Jewish life and instruct congregants in how best to live this life.
Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation documents a monumental change in Jewish life as eighteen lesbian rabbis reflect on their experiences as trailblazers in Judaism's journey into an increasingly multicultural world. In frank and revealing essays, the contributors discuss their decisions to become rabbis and describe their experiences both at the seminaries and in their rabbinical positions. They also reflect on the dilemma whether to conceal or reveal their sexual identities to their congregants and superiors, or to serve specifically gay and lesbian congregations. The contributors consider the tensions between lesbian identity and Jewish identity, and inquire whether there are particularly "lesbian" readings of traditional texts. These essays also ask how the language of Jewish tradition touches the lives of lesbians and how lesbianism challenges traditional notions of the Jewish family.
"'Today I am completely 'out' personally and professionally, and yet I have learned that the 'coming out' process never ends. Even today, I find myself in professional situations in which yet again I must reveal that I am a lesbian, yet again I must prove myself worthy of functioning professionally in the 'straight' world. I still encounter moments of awkwardness, some hostility, and some sense of exclusion as I negotiate the pathways of my professional life."-Rabbi Leila Gal Berner, from Lesbian Rabbis: The First Generation
What has happened to the religious left? If there is a religious left, why don't we hear more about it?
The academics and activists who write this rich volume, edited by Rebecca Alpert, argue passionately on topics that concern all of us. Quoting from the Bible, the Torah, the Qur'an, the teachings of Buddha, as well as Native American folklore, they make the voices of the religious left heard -- teaching lessons of peace and liberation.
As this invaluable sourcebook shows, the religious left is committed to issues of human rights and dignity. Answering questions of identity and ideology, the essays included here stem from the "culture wars" that have divided orthodox and liberal believers. Responding to the needs of and raised by marginalized social groups, the writers discuss economic issues and religious politics as they champion equal rights, and promote the teaching of progressive vision.
Containing insightful perspectives of adherents to many faiths, Voices of the Religious Left makes it clear that there is a group dedicated to instilling the values of justice and freedom. They are far from silent.
All of the essays in this collection "...represent the power of the written word as a vehicle for advocacy and social change....It is my hope that the readers of these essays will themselves feel compelled to think more about the importance of taking a stand on issues from religious perspectives, and to act on something that compels them." --Rabbi Rebecca Alpert