From the Editor

by Susan Weidman Schneider

The powerful personal prayer experiences we feature in this issue are, in some ways, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it is a leap a forward for a woman to recognize that her own life—and body—may be an appropriate text for prayer, and that we women are able to create and own such an embodied connection to Judaism. After all, brit milah—ritual circumcision—has been the test of true Jewish identity and affiliation for millennia. It’s so embedded in the Jewish experience that many of the daily prayers—including the blessing after a meal—refer to “the mark upon my body.” Well, women have not had that mark. We’re at a watershed moment when women are creating what amounts to personal worship experiences based on our own bodies. In the pages to come you’ll read about how one woman uses the placenta which once connected her to her baby as the trigger for a ritual marking the child’s separation from her body. Another woman describes nursing her baby in synagogue and feeling the holiness of nurturing life in another human being—as God does.

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