Friday, October 4, 1985 3
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BY JESSIE STERN
Special to The Jewish News
If one is searching for a
entry into the real world of the
Orthodox Jewish woman, Blu
Greenberg's latest book, How to
tion, dress, speech, and the
Run a Traditional Jewish
Household (Fireside Book,
Simon and Schuster), should be
required reading. Known
primarily as an Orthodox
feminist, Greenberg's exposition
brings her feminist point of view
and her traditional Jewish bent
into almost perfect harmony.
She will be the featured speaker
at the Jewish Welfare Federa-
tion Women's Division Institute
Day, Oct. 24, a Adat Shalom
Wife of a modern Orthodox
rabbi, Mrs. Greenberg has in
her previous writings come to
grips with the discrepancies be-
She is soft-sell and
very effective at
opening the mind
and heart of the
reader to her ideas.
tween society's move away from
sexism and the perceived secon-
dary role afforded Jewish
woman by Halachah.
With tenderness and sensitiv-
ity this book lays out a complete
and compelling guide for estab-
ishing and maintaining a tradi-
tional (Orthodox) Jewish home.
However, the title 'could be mis-
leading. The work is more than
a "how-to" for observant Jews. It
Can be 'enjoyedL from cover to
cover on its own terms, for it is
loth personal and engaging. The
Warmth and feeling of the
author surface on every page.
Whether she is retelling the
Passover story or describing the
mikveh,- Blu Greenberg's com-
aitment to an love of tradi-
ttonal Judaism makes reading
ker work an energizing experi-
ke. At the same time, for an
*servant Jew wanting to check
this or that special blessing
r a particular moment in
wish life, the book is indis-
While one is absorbing the
7 iiarticulars of how to be an Or-
thodox Jew, one is also learning
out Judaism in general. The
k is a compendium of Jewish
dw, embellished with Jewish
his story and the attitudes which
‘Iriform the observant Jew. So,
although the book is about
ritual, some of-which the author
herself. describes as mundane, it
d' era not lack an element of
spirituality. In addition, Green-
berg presents her subject with
passion, humor and love.
pie text is carefully divided
iota three parts, each offering
tlie. ,main ingredients of Or-
thodox observance, philosophy
and purpose. Part One, "The
Jewish Way," discusses Shabbat,
kashrut, the Laws of Family
Purity, daily prayer and
blessings, parenting and educa-
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In Part Two, entitled "Special
Stages of Life," the reader is
enveloped, once again, in
Halachah as the law speaks to
us on marriage, birth, bar That
mitzvah, divorce, death and
mourning. Part Three, called
"Celebrations and Remember-
ing," describes each of the
Jewish holidays, including their
traditional customs and cere-
monies beginning with a discus-
sion of Jewish rhythm. Signific-
antly, this introduction helps
the Jew understand the impor-
tance and place of each holiday
as part of a unified whole.
So convincing is Greenberg,
the reader can feel the pulsating
rhythm while following the
Jewish calendar through the
At the conclusion of the book
there is an additional section
containing mouth-watering tra-
ditional recipes and a glossary
of terms for the uninitiated.
A word about the author's
feminism. As she delves into the
traditions of Orthodoxy, she
misses no opportunity to tell her
readers how Orthodoxy is keep-
ing pace with modernity without
sacrificing authenticity. For
example, a Succot custom is to
hang pictures of Jewish
forefathers on the walls of the
succah. In the last decade people
have begun to ask, "Why not
foremothers?" While Greenberg
has not seen pictures of Sarah,
Rebecca, Rachel and Leah
adorning the succah, she be-
lieves this change will occur.
Greenberg's straightforward ef-
fort to come to terms with
Halachah as it relates to women
is sensitizing and touching, but
it falls short of being totally
With Greenberg one cannot
deny this truth: traditional Jews
are special. They live a special
way, view themselves as unique,
and are viewed by , society as
separate and distinct. Greenberg
venerates the life-style and the
people who are its adherents. In
fact,••Blu Greenberg is un-
ashamedly an apologist. She is .
-also soft-sell and very effective
at opening the mind and heart.
of the reader to her ideas.
suggests no sense of errancy on
the part of non-Orthodox or
non-observant Jews. This is
especially refreshing in these
times when sensitivity to Or-
thodox influence over the reli-
gious life of Israel and the lack
of an overt serious threat to
American Jewry are fostering a
further entrenchment of differ-
ing points of view in the Jewish
• We need Blu Greenberg's
message more than, ever which,
while it is intentionally paroc-
hial, helps us appreciate one an-
other. For. this reason, How to
Run a Traditional Jewish
Household is important reading
for Reform, Conservative, Re-
constructionist and secular
Jews, as well as Orthodox. .
Call Jerry Turken at
2646 Coolidge Hwy. (S. of 12 Mile)
399-1320 or 399-1327
Hrs. 9-5 mon. Sat.
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