Cynthia Ozick

from “Torah as the Matrix for Feminism”

Cynthia Ozick’s startlingly original essay about Torah as the matrix for feminism: an entirely new way to see the links between feminism and Judaism. [Winter/Spring 1985] 

What is feminism? Betty Friedan encapsulates it in a word—the “personhood,” she puts it, of women. On that everyone can agree, and it may be that we ought to stop at the definition that promotes agreement. But definitions that may promote disagreement are not without their importance. The revelation implicit in the study of Talmudic method is that, though not all analysis is equal because only one will carry the decision, all analysis is open to view. In that spirit, then, I want to offer a perhaps controversial definition of feminism—but not before taking a Biblical look at an instance of “personhood….”

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