by Aurora Mendelsohn

Nursing in Shul

God-the-Breast: why isn't this image as familiar [and hallowed?] to us as God-the-King-of-the-Universe?

My husband and I had just moved to Maryland and were attending our new synagogue for the first time with our nine-month-old daughter. During the service, she began to fuss; she was hungry and wanted to nurse. I looked around nervously, knowing that breastfeeding in public offends a fair number of people. Some find it a disconcerting reminder that human beings arc animals; others that it is somehow an inappropriate erotic display. Our culture sees breasts first and foremost as sexual, when really their primary purpose is to nurse. I sat weighing my options: Leave the service and nurse my baby outside, or stay put and possibly offend someone whom I didn’t even yet know? For me. prayer is a serious commitment. Why did I have to choose between one holy act and another?

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The articles in this special section:

Bound for Glory: Females in Phylacteries

by Ruth Horowitz

How an otherwise non-religious woman finds herself transformed by tefillin 

A Quiet Ritual for Burying the Baby’s Placenta

by Catherine Grossman

When the time feels just right, Grossman goes modestly out into the chill evening air and says a prayer to honor the tissues which sustained her baby daughter in the womb.

Nursing in Shul

by Aurora Mendelsohn

Mendelsohn gives us traditional Jewish texts we’ve never really considered before, all about breasts and their natural uses. Plus…Rabbi Susan Schnur in conversation with Susan Weidman Schneider on God-the-Breast and more.