Thursday, April 28, 2011



The Status of Women in Jewish Tradition
With Rabbi Isaac S. D. Sassoon

WHEN: Thursday, May 5,  8:30 PM
Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, 411 E. Clinton Avenue, Tenafly
TICKETS:  $8 JCC members / $10 non-members. Refreshments will follow the lecture. Call 201.408.1426 for more information.

Most ancient societies were patriarchal, but not all patriarchies are equally condescending toward women. Looking to address this highly important topic from a Judaic perspective, the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades will present: The Status of Women in Jewish Tradition, with Rabbi Isaac S. D. Sassoon, a scholar who has just published a timely book that may transform the way that women are viewed in the Torah.

Impelled by the gnawing question of whether the Torah really views women as inferior, Rabbi Sassoon set out to determine what position the Bible, the Talmud and related literature, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, really take on the continuum of patriarchal condescension. His search led him to write his compelling book, The Status of Women in Jewish Tradition, which reveals credible support for monogamy in ancient Israel and a belief that the Biblical commandments applied to men and women alike.

Scholars such as Phyllis Chesler (author of Women and Madness) and Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg (author of The Murmuring Deep) have commended his book, and according to Josh Lambert in TABLET Magazine, “Rabbi Sassoon’s research reveals that while one cannot gainsay ancient and rabbinic misogyny, there are plenty of alternative perspectives in the Torah and Talmud that provide a less oppressive view of Jewish patriarchy. Indeed, some passages even support women’s claims of equality.”

Dr. Isaac Sassoon is a founding faculty member of the Institute of Traditional Judaism (ITJ), and received his Ph.D. from the University of Lisbon. A noted Torah scholar and author, Rabbi Sassoon grew up in Letchworth, England, a member of an illustrious Indian Jewish family. He was a student at the Gateshead Yeshiva in England and various yeshivot in Israel, including Merkaz Harav and Yeshivat Hanegev.

This special event is made possible by the JCC’s Jewish Women’s Connection in collaboration with Cambridge University Press, publisher of Rabbi Sassoon’s book.