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Dirshuni: Women’s Contemporary Midrash

Sun, Dec 4, 2022 • 2:00 PM5:30 PM



It’s no secret that throughout history, the analysis and interpretation of Jewish sacred texts weren’t often open to women. As beautiful as our tradition is, and as deeply imaginative as the sages were—we may never really know what the women who lived centuries ago truly thought. Fortunately, it’s a different story today.

Earlier this year, Tamar Biala, a Israeli Jewish feminism scholar, released the first-ever English translation of Dirshuni, a collection of midrashim (plural of midrash) written by contemporary Israeli women.

Written by contributors with a range of religious and political backgrounds, the pieces of midrash in this work utilize the style of classical rabbinic midrash and cover topics from biblical stories to contemporary feminist issues.

Join us for a conversation with Tamar and some of these incredible authors, scholars, and rabbis on Sunday, December 4, as we discuss the book Dirshuni: Contemporary Women’s Midrash and examine women’s roles in interpreting holy Jewish writings.

Please note: only the opening and closing panel will be available via livestream, the breakouts between 3:00-3:45PM will not be streamed.


2:00-2:10 PM: Welcome (available via livestream)

  • Rabbi Roly Matalon and Rabbi Felicia Sol

2:10-2:40 PM: “What is Dirshuni?” (available via livestream)

  • Rabbi Roly Matalon and Tamar Biala

3:00-3:45 PM: Celebration of Study of Dirshuni (not available via livestream)

  • “Dirshuni as a Tool for Reading our Most Difficult Texts” – Rabbi Avi Killip (Hadar)
  • “Home and Study Hall: The Role(s) of Beit Beruriah in Dirshuni” – Elana Stein Hain (Hartman North America)
  • “Midrash and Motherhood” – Rabbi Erin Leib Smokler (Maharat)

4:30-5:30 PM: Panel discussion, “Writing Jewish Sacred Text” (available via livestream)

  • Rabbi Felicia Sol (moderator)
  • Devorah Zlochower
  • Rabbi Rachel Timoner 
  • Nessa Rapoport