Joining the Sisterhood

Young Jewish Women Write Their Lives

Edited by Tobin Belzer & Julie Pelc

Subjects: Jewish Studies
Series: SUNY series in Modern Jewish Literature and Culture
Paperback : 9780791458624, 238 pages, October 2003
Hardcover : 9780791458617, 238 pages, October 2003

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents



Part I. Ruach: Ourselves in Relation to Others and the Environment

1. Bais Yaakov Girl (essay)
Eve Rosenbaum

2. Questions (poem)
Melanie Leitner

3. Ground Contemplation Prayer (essay)
Leah Berger

4. Singing Praises (essay)
Shoshana M. Friedman

5. God Lives in the Himalayas (essay)
Leanne Lieberman

6. Yom Kippur in Ecuador (Me and the Virgin) (poem)
Aleza Eve Kaufman Summit

7. Where the Mountain Touches the Sky (essay)
Vered Hankin

8. Sister (poem)
Alana Suskin

9. Mazel: The Luck of the Irish (essay)
Charlotte Green Honigman-Smith

Part II. Nefesh: Ourselves in Relation to our Bodies

10. Blessings in Boxes (essay)
Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

11. At Home in My Own Skin (essay)
Clara Thaler

12. Boiled Beet (poem)
Anna Swanson

13. Who is a Jew? (essay)
Loolwa Khazzoom

14. The Kibbutz (poem)
Deborah Preg

15. When You're Looking for G-d, Go Home (essay)
Jessie Heller-Frank

16. Orange (poem)
Andrea Gottlieb

17. A Woman of Valor, Who Can Find (essay)
Julie Pelc

Part III. Neshamah: Our Emotional and Intellectual Selves

18. Chutzpah and Menschlekeit: Negotiating Identity in Jerusalem (essay)
Caryn Aviv

19. Passages (poem)
Leah Berger

20. Meeting in the Middle (essay)
Lynne Meredith Schreiber

21. Secret Weapon (poem)
Amy Elisabeth Bokser

22. Ira Glass, Where Are You? (essay)
Tobin Belzer

23. Stepping Eastward (essay)
Daveena Tauber

24. Making Love on the Deutsche Bahn (essay)
Ruth A. Abusch-Magder



Essays and poems that offer insight into what it means to be a young Jewish woman today.


Young Jewish women engage in almost every aspect of religious and cultural Jewish life, yet their unique perspectives have remained largely invisible. Through poetry and personal essays, Joining the Sisterhood sheds light on the lives of these young women as they search for both personal and universal truths. By writing about their thoughts and experiences, the women in this anthology join the sisterhood of women who work toward justice in their homes, synagogues, and communities.

Tobin Belzer is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture and the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life at the University of Southern California. Julie Pelc is a rabbinical student at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles and recipient of the Wexner Graduate Fellowship.