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RABBI MARLA J. FELDMAN

Rabbi Marla J. Feldman is a Reform rabbi, lawyer and, now, a published author! After serving the Jewish community in numerous roles for over forty years, she has finally completed her dream project of publishing a collection of her modern midrash. Read more about the book and Rabbi Feldman's bio below.

Biblical Women Speak: Hearing Their Voices through New and Ancient Midrash

What is midrash? How can midrash be utilized to understand and amplify the lesser-known stories of women in the Bible? Watch my discussion about my new book, Biblical Women Speak: Hearing Their Voices through New and Ancient Midrash, with JPS Director Dr. Elias Sacks in a recorded interview on the new JPS YouTube channel, where I describe  contemporary approaches to midrash and what led me to choose the ten Biblical women featured in the book. 

Book Description:

Feldman's book uniquely combines the biblical text with a creative revisioning of ten biblical women’s stories, an analysis of the related classical midrash and commentaries, and the author’s insights for the modern world, creating an engaging invitation to enter biblical narratives, challenge conventional wisdom, and recalibrate the stories and lessons through the lens of our own lives.

 

Hear what other's have to say:

"It is absolutely exquisite. I LOVE Midrash and your storytelling goes down like fine liqueur-with warmth and that glowing feeling. It is so good for the soul!"—Dr. Madelyn Katz, Associate Dean (retired), HUC-JIR, Los Angeles, CA.

Meeting these new role models of Jewish womanhood—some famous, others voiceless or infamous and nameless in the Torah—left me both enlightened and delighted. Reading the biblical text, rabbinic commentary, modern midrash, and Rabbi Feldman’s contemporary commentary illuminated four dimensions of these remarkable women.”—Maggie Anton, author of Rashi’s Daughters

Rabbi Marla J. Feldman is a marvelous teacher, and in Biblical Women Speak she proves to also be a weaver of ancient, modern, and original texts that give voice to women of the Bible who were often ignored or nameless, filling a void that has existed for centuries. Accessible for both beginner and advanced students, Biblical Women Speak should be required in any class of midrash.”—Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, executive director, Women’s League for Conservative Judaism

“Rabbi Marla Feldman has created a dynamic and compelling conversation among the generations. Both individuals and groups will admire her captivating modern midrashic interpretations and her expert navigation of traditional texts. Feldman shows us how fresh and relevant our sacred tradition can be!”—Rabbi Mary L. Zamore, executive director, Women’s Rabbinic Network

“Rabbi Marla Feldman has added an imaginative, insightful contribution to our collective Jewish library. As she creatively gives voice to both familiar and lesser-known female biblical characters, she shows why their stories matter for us as contemporary readers.”—Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Provost, Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion

"Feldman not only recovers these female characters but brings together the traditional rabbinic commentaries on these marginal or marginalized women (as well as on better-known female figures... Feldman brings this conversation into the modern era: She composes midrashim that turn these biblical characters into real human beings, facing problems familiar to those of women (and men) today."—Moment Magazine

"Few things are more powerful than bringing a voice to the voiceless. Biblical Women Speak is an excellent model for what bringing a voice to the voiceless can look like in the twenty-first century... And future writers have received their next challenge: to continue Rabbi Feldman’s work and to find more biblical women, both named and unnamed... who are waiting to have their stories created for the modern reader."— Rabbi Rachael Klein Miller, CCAR Journal

"I am very impressed by the author’s creativity and in depth understanding of her characters. She often leans on traditional commentary, but is not bound by it… [M]ost of the stories focus on characters that we don’t usually think about… What is most interesting to me is how she enables us to empathize with these marginal biblical women."—Naomi Graetz, author of Unlocking the Garden: A Feminist Jewish Look at the Bible, Midrash and God and S/He Created Them: Feminist Retellings of Biblical Stories

"Women in the Bible are often unnamed, defined sole­ly by their rela­tion­ships with oth­ers. Take Judah’s wife, for exam­ple. She is known as Bat Shua, or 'daugh­ter of Shua.' This label­ing, or lack there­of, makes it easy for sto­ries like hers to be sub­sumed by those of men. Feld­man, by con­trast, dives into these women’s sto­ries, bring­ing them to life with depth and insight. Feldman’s analy­sis of Miriam’s sto­ry is a stand­out of the book." —Jewish Book Council

"Readers looking to better understand midrash will particularly enjoy the sections on classic commentary, while those interested in new ways of understanding the text will find the contemporary midrash of interest. Biblical Women Speak would also make an excellent text for Torah discussion groups." - The Reporter

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Recent and Upcoming Presentations

Podcasts

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Seekers of Meaning

August 11, 2023

View or listen to the PODCAST

Jewish Publication Society

Interview with Author

Rabbi Marla J. Feldman

I hope to see you at some of these upcoming presentations!

Sutton Place Synagogue

New York, NY

Saturday, March 23, 2024

Shabbat Services

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WRJ Northeast

District

Thursday, March 28, 2024

7:30pm Eastern on Zoom

Park Slope Jewish Center

Brooklyn, NY

Friday, April 5, 2024

Shabbat Services

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Westchester Jewish Center

Mamaroneck, NY

Friday, April 19, 2024

Sisterhood Shabbat

2023-2024 Book Tour

October 3, 2023: Women's Leadership Council of Temple Israel of the City of New York

October 10, 2023: WRJ Heartland District (Zoom)

October 18, 2023: Jewish Community Center of Mid-Westchester, Scarsdale, NY

Nov. 5, 2023: Jewish Book Fest, JCC of Metro Detroit, West Bloomfield, MI

Nov. 17, 2023: Temple Sholom of West Essex, NJ, Cedar Grove, NJ (Shabbat Service)

Nov. 18, 2023: Kol Dorot: A Reform Jewish Community, Oradell, NJ

Nov. 19, 2023: Temple Israel Center, White Plains, NY (TIC Talk)

Dec. 4, 2023: Stephen Wise Temple, Los Angeles, CA

Dec. 5, 2023: WRJ Pacific District Lunch and Learn

Dec. 5, 2023: Temple Beth Hillel, Valley Village, CA

Jan. 12-14, 2024: Congregation Beth Emeth, Wilmington, DE (Scholar-in-Residence)

Jan. 21, 2024: Temple Sinai, Pittsburgh, PA (Zoom)

Feb. 2-3, 2024: Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester, Women's Retreat

Feb. 4, 2024: Temple Israel, Wilmington, NC (Zoom)

Feb. 15, 2024: Temple Emanu-El of Westfield, NJ

Feb. 22, 2024: Women of Emanu-El, Edison, NJ (Zoom)

March 3, 2024: Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, VA

March 8, 2024: East End Temple, NY, NY (Sisterhood Shabbat)

March 18, 2024: Temple Sinai, Dresher, PA

March 23, 2024: Sutton Place Synagogue, New York, NY (Shabbat Service)

March 28, 2024: WRJ Northeast District (Zoom)

April 5, 2024: Park Slope Jewish Center, Brooklyn, NY (Shabbat Service)

April 19, 2024: Westchester Jewish Center, Mamaroneck, NY (Shabbat Service)

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