Chanah’s Voice : A Rabbi Wrestles with Gender, Commandment, and the Women’s Rituals of Baking, Bathing, and Brightening

Chanah's Voice : A Rabbi Wrestles with Gender, Commandment, and the Women's Rituals of Baking, Bathing, and Brightening

In her first book, “Life on the Fringes,” Haviva Ner-David described her quest to become an Orthodox rabbi, to serve God the same way men traditionally did. Now, Rabbi Ner-David tunes in to an aspect of God she hadn’t heard before, the voice of Chanah.

Chanah, the Biblical mother of Samuel, was considered by tradition to have invented prayer. Her name is also an acronym for the three commandments given to women: Challah, the taking of an offering from baking dough; Niddah, separation during menstruation followed by immersion; and Hadlakat HaNer, lighting the Sabbath candles.

In this spiritual memoir, Rabbi Ner-David explores the spirituality of domestic life while struggling with the strictures of systematized Jewish law. Combining soul-searching honesty and deep Jewish knowledge, “Chanah’s Voice” is the compelling voice of a new generation of Jewish feminism.

“A beautiful example of how to wrestle with God, Torah, and one’s self.” -Brad Hirschfield, author of “You Don’t Have to Be Wrong for Me to Be Right”

“New challenges, new insights, and, at times, new theological innovations.”
-Jay Michaelson, “author of Everything is God: The Radical Path of Nondual Judaism”

“This profound meditation on spiritual integrity, vulnerability, and holiness is a must-read for anyone who values Judaism. Haviva Ner-David has once again illuminated the way for us, enlivening ancient concepts and imbuing them with deep spiritual meaning.”
-Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, author, “Surprised by God: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Religion”

“Haviva Ner-David is one of the most original thinkers on the Jewish scene today. In Chanah’s Voice she takes what have sadly become stale rituals and re-envisions them anew. Ner-David’s powerful stories of family, tradition, and love will inspire readers to find deeper meaning in their Jewish lives.”
-Ari L. Goldman, author, “Living a Year of Kaddish: A Memoir “

“I have always admired Haviva. I loved her first book, yet “Chanah’s Voice” is more remarkable. It is not only a unique contribution to the literature of feminism and Orthodoxy but also a significant work that better fits the categories of the theology and social anthropology than autobiography. Perhaps this is how all theological works should be: written engagingly in the first person, making accessible to the reader the struggle of an individual or community trying to make sense of one’s relationship with God.”
-Blu Greenberg, author, “On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition”

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