Kaddish (Hardcover)

Women's Voices

By Michal Smart (Editor), Barbara Ashkenas (Editor)

Urim Publications, 9789655241501, 268pp.

Publication Date: November 1, 2013

List Price: 27.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Winner of:
2013 National Jewish Book Award

For centuries, Jews have turned to the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer upon experiencing a loss. This groundbreaking book explores what the recitation of Kaddish has meant specifically to women. Did they find the consolation, closure, and community they were seeking? How did saying Kaddish affect their relationships with God, with prayer, with the deceased, and with the living? With courage and generosity, 52 authors from around the world reflect upon their experiences of mourning. They share their relationships with the family members they lost and what it meant to move on; how they struggled to balance the competing demands of child rearing, work, and grief; what they learned about tradition and themselves; and the disappointments and particular challenges they confronted as women. The collection shares viewpoints from diverse perspectives and backgrounds and examines what it means to heal from loss and to honor memory in family relationships, both loving and fraught with pain. It is a precious record of women searching for their place within Jewish tradition and exploring the connections that make human life worthwhile.

About the Author

Michal Smart teaches widely on Jewish texts and philosophy, with a focus on Jewish women. A Fulbright scholar in Jewish Thought, she pioneered Jewish outdoor and environmental education in the United States. She is a founder of the TEVA Learning Center and the coauthor of Spirit in Nature: Teaching Judaism and Ecology on the Trail. Barbara Ashkenas has been professionally involved in the arts for more than 30 years. She conducts seminars for staff development on the integration of the arts into Jewish educational settings and has served as the educational outreach coordinator at the Stamford Center for the Arts and as an adjunct professor of art education at Housatonic Community College. Barbara is an active member of Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut, where she is a founding member of the Women’s Tefillah Group. They both live in Stamford, Connecticut.

Praise For Kaddish: Women's Voices

“The 52 essays in this book give women a voice and a place. Each one is a prize. We are all enriched by this volume.”  —Ari L. Goldman, author, Living a Year of Kaddish and The Search for God at Harvard

“A deeply moving anthology of women who have loved and lost and prayed. The essays it contains are short in length but long in wisdom, consolation, and comfort.”  —Erica Brown, author, Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death

“This is a groundbreaking work! Women are newly coming to Kaddish, with a self-consciousness and introspection that demonstrate the power of ritual to connect us to our innermost self. . . . This book will surely help make a practice that is just coming into its own become a fixed ritual for all time.” —Blu Greenberg, author, On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition

“A warm, personal invitation into the sisterhood of mourners. Reciting Kaddish has altered the lives of these women, and now the lives of the readers of this collection. Deeply moving and inspiring.”  —Aliza Kline, founding director, Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh

“Anyone who reads it will come away with a new appreciation of the power of daily prayer to heal bruised hearts and to give new spirit in time of loss, and with a new appreciation for the way in which modern Orthodox Jews are striving to balance their commitment to tradition with their understanding of the spiritual needs of the women in their midst. [...]" —Rabbi Jack Riemer, jns.org

"This collection of 52 articulate essays . . . represents a broad sampling of Jewish women’s experiences with traditional mourning rituals. . . . Kaddish is a religious need, and, as discipline and source of comfort, as crucial for a Jewish woman as it is for a Jewish man."  —Publishers Weekly

"More than 50 women writers contributed personal essays to this unique collection. . . . In addition to providing a dynamic view of feminism and Judaism, the collection coheres as a community of women experienced in mourning as a human sensibility, opening the titular theme to others who may feel alone in their bereavement."  —Francisca Goldsmith, Booklist