“Proclaiming Liberty throughout the Land,” an essay on the portion Behar by then rabbinical students Sharon Brous and Jill Hammer,* includes a section entitled “The meaning of Ge’ulah for feminists.” (See p. 242ff in The Women’s Torah Commentary.*) They ask Jews to consider their responsibility to help free agunot, women chained to marriage by husbands who refuse them divorce; women bound by addiction; women “enslaved by society’s views of their roles and bodies”; and women forced into prostitution or sold into slavery.
“This parashah reminds us how much our kinfolk need us to further their redemption,” Brous and Hammer write.
To learn more about agunot and related advocacy, visit the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance agunot page.
To learn more about modern slavery and what can be done about it, visit Not for Sale and Truah on slavery.
*Rabbi Sharon Brous has since founded Ikar, a congregation dedicated to “the intersection of spirituality and social justice.” Rabbi Jill Hammer has gone on to create Tel Shemesh, an “earth-based” Jewish community, and Kohenet, the Hebrew Priestess Institute, and is now Director of Spiritual Education at the Academy for Jewish Religion.
** Please see Source Materials for full citation and additional information.
The “Opening the Book” series was originally presented in cooperation with the independent, cross-community Jewish Study Center and with Kol Isha, an open group that for many years pursued spirituality from a woman’s perspective at Temple Micah (Reform). “A Song Every Day” is an independent blog, however, and all views, mistakes, etc. are the author’s.