The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism


Product Details

New York University Press
Publish Date
6.38 X 8.94 X 0.76 inches | 0.93 pounds

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About the Author

Danya Ruttenberg was named one of ten "rabbis to watch" byNewsweekand one of the "36 most influential leaders under age 36" byThe Jewish Week. Her writing has appeared in Best Jewish Writing, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Salon, and other publications. Her first book, Surprised By God, was nominated for a Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish literature and was a Hadassah Book Club selection. She lives in Chicago with her husband and sons.


"The Passionate Torah is not a guidebook to & kosher sex, as Chabad emissary turned high-profile media figure Shmuley Boteach called one of his best-selling books, but rather an assemblage of eighteen essays that apply cutting-edge scholarship to the way the Jewish sources deal with subjects like birth control, homosexuality, premarital sex, niddah (the laws that separate a woman from her husband while she is menstruating), masturbation, and more."--Haaretz
"Both thought-provoking and fun. The wide variety of approaches to a terrific list of topics ensures that every reader will come away with some fresh perspective on the Torah and sex."--Judith Plaskow, author of Standing Again at Sinai
"These essays were chosen to expand the reader's sense of what Judaism has to say on the subject of sex. Our understanding of Jewish sexuality needs to become as complex as the realities are."
"The Passionate Torah carries out its goal of starting a new type of conversation about Jews and sexuality in the contemporary age."--Midwest Jewish Studies Assocation
"It is not often that an academic title about religion stimulates other parts of the body as well as the mind. Yet that is what Ruttenberg, a rabbi, and the seventeen contributors to this collection of essays have accomplished. Ruttenberg, a wunderkind of Jewish feminism, leads the reader through an often racy reconsideration of what the sacred Jewish texts say about our most intimate relationships."--Publishers Weekly
"A compendium of essays from leading Jewish and non-Jewish academics on topics ranging from masturbation to modesty . . . Yet despite the academic credentials of the authors who penned most of the books essays, Ruttenberg said that she designed The Passionate Torah with & the intelligent lay reader in mind"--The Harvard Crimson
"The Passionate Torahbrings together brilliant thinkers in an attempt to bridge the gap between the sacred and the sexual."--JewishMediaReview
"The Passionate Torah contains an interesting and curious mix of articles."--The Reporter
"Danya Ruttenberg, a Conservative rabbi in her early thirties, is a leader of the effort to introduce the concerns of hipster Jews into the tradition."--Commentary Magazine
"Jewish thinkers explore the intersection of Torah and sexuality in modern Jewish culture."--The Jewish Advocate
"Living according to Jewish values means embracing a holy sexual ethic. Whether you are single, married, straight, or queer, this book is indispensable in teaching you why and how."--Leora Tanenbaum, author of Taking Back God
"Ruttenberg, a dynamic young rabbi and memoirist, takes a different tack than her predecessors, including not only academics but also activists like Jewish Renewal stalwart Arthur Waskow and Orthodox feminist Haviva Ner-David. Ruttenberg groups the essays under rubrics of & I-It, & I-Thou, and & We-Thou relationships, which might sound a little kinky, but is really just her way of echoing Martin Buber and of suggesting how variously Jews in different times and places relate to their sexuality."--Tablet Magazine
""It is not easy to conduct a serious and productive conversation about sex. keeps one foot in objective academic discourse, while the other pokes mischievously at sacred cows."--Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
"Influenced by the existentialist philosophy of Martin Buber...this timely tome [is] devoted to uncovering consensual and opposing layers of Jewish thought on sex in relationship to self-being, to one another, and to the divine."--Choice
"The questions that these distinguished authors raise are important for rabbis to ponder as they are precisely the questions and the discourse that many of our youth confront each day in academia."--Rabbi Ruth Gelfarb "CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly "
"The vitality and, yes, passion in this assemblage of thought-provoking essays go beyond the & everything youve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask mindset. The Passionate Torah is a vivid reminder that sexuality has had a long and distinguished, albeit controversial, place in the Jewish law."--Jerusalem Report