POUGHKEEPSIE, NY - Aliza Lavie, Israeli author of the best-selling A Jewish Woman's Prayer Book (2008), will discuss "A Bridge between Earth and Heaven: Jewish Women's Prayers from the Earliest Times to the Present Day" on Monday, March 2. The talk, free and open to the public, will begin at 5:30 p.m., in the College Center's Multi-Purpose Room.
On the eve of Yom Kippur in 2002, Lavie was struck by an interview with an Israeli woman whose mother and baby daughter were murdered. Unable to find solace within the traditional prayer book, she began researching and compiling prayers written for and by Jewish women. Woman's Prayer is the result-a collection that draws from a variety of Jewish traditions of commemoration and celebration. The volume includes prayers for ordinary life, as well as prayers for celebration, and for comfort and understanding during tragedy.
Since its release, Women's Prayer has been a massive success. "Three months after publication, it still heads the bestseller list and is arousing questions as to how a book that is ostensibly sectoral and religious, has succeeded in going beyond the periphery and reaching ... the secular world," wrote Tamar Rotem in Haaretz. In Rotem's review, Lavie noted that "Women are relating to the prayers without any inhibitions, as though the emotional outpouring of the women in the book is what is transmitted and what moves them." An academic at Tel Aviv University called the book "a positive ricochet of the waves of feminism" (www.alizalavie.com).
A professor in the department of political studies at Bar-Ilan University, Lavie's areas of research include communications, multiculturalism in Israel, and women in Judaism. She is also the moderator of a television program about Jewish culture, and a leading activist in the religious feminist organization Kolech. Lavie lives in Netanya with her husband Tzuri and their four children.
The Jewish Studies Program is sponsoring this free lecture.
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.