8:47PM May 5, 2022
I haven't checked the weather, but I know it is a perfect day to chat about adult Jewish literature. I'm Sheryl Stahl. Thanks for joining me here at Nice Jewish Books. Today I am so pleased to welcome award winning author Maggie Anton. Welcome, Maggie.
I am so pleased to be here.
Maggie, the subtitle of your latest book is a novel of love faith and the Talmud. And it seemed like this could have been the subtitle for any of the Rashi's Daughters or Rav Hidai's daughter's books, but this book takes place in the past century. So would you please tell us how you landed in the near past and set the story up for us?
Well, the past century I guess so. But it actually takes place in the mid 1950s When I was actually alive. To say the past century makes me feel older than I am perhaps. But the book which I have to be very careful to say inspired by the early works of Chaim Potok. Since it's not actually a sequel, as my copyright attorney would say, it's not a sequel. It's not fan fiction. It's a totally transformative derivative, inspired by Chaim Potok's early works,
How did you become interested in Potok's work?
So what happened is in in the 1960s, I was in college and I read the two books that Chaim Potok had at that time about the Orthodox, we would call modern Orthodox, but the regular orthodox yeshiva student and the Hasidic son of the Rebbe. And I was into discovering my Judaism at that time, and I read them and I was one of the, you know, millions of people that, that love them. And that's how I learned about Tolmud. I never you know, who would say that in the 50s, who would have learned even known anything about Talmud, and as a little girl, or as a teenage girl, I certainly wouldn't have. So this is an introduction to the world of Talmud. And while it wasn't explicit in his books, it was clear that women didn't study this. So anyway, then, you know, I got married, I had kids, I had things to do. And I eventually I think, in the late 1980s, I saw that Potok had written another book, this time, Davita's Harp, which had a female protagonist, his only book with a female protagonist. And I read that and enjoyed it. And in that book, it was very clear when she is in a Jewish Day School, and she wants to go she wants to go off with the boys and study Talmud and the teachers tells her no, you're going to study Psalms and Proverbs. I don't remember whether he actually said girls can't or girls don't. But it was clear that the girls didn't. So with that fresh in mind a few years later, I heard about a woman's Talmud class being taught by Rachael Adler. You know, now she's retired from HUC where she's been teaching Talmud, but she started this class for women. And I of course, signed up for immediately. You know, all you have to do is forbid something that makes it a lot more attractive. I think proverbs even says stolen waters are sweet. And I thought, Oh, I could handle this class. I knew something about Talmud. I thought I knew something about Talmud. But because I had read the Chosen, Hah!, everybody else in the class was either a rabbinic student or planning to be one. But I fell in love with Talmud. So much so that Rachel pointed out that Rashi, who if you're studying Talmud, there's Rashi every page almost every live had no sons, only daughters, daughters who were reputed to be learned. I was intrigued when my kids were leaving the nest, I did a whole lot of research to find out if those legends were true, short story. They were true, long story. I don't a whole lot of research and wrote three novels about
But in any case, I was then doing bookstores speaking about my research, but I was staying in people's houses. And of course these being like the Jewish mochers in a community there would be libraries in their house, there would be walls with Jewish books. In the bedroom, I was staying I saw Oh, there's The Chosen and The Promise. And I must have been there for a couple of days. And I read it again there. And this time with a feminist viewpoint or at least feminist eyes, and I'm going, wait a second, there's no women in these books. The Orthodox hero, whose mother died before she he was born, she doesn't even have a name. Nobody ever talks about her. He doesn't say Kaddish for her. And meanwhile, the Hasidic one, whose father is the Rebbi. Okay, we occasionally see his mother in the kitchen or in passing, she also has no name, she seems to have no presence either. Even though later research, the rebbitson is almost in some way, say more powerful than the Rebbi in terms of directing the community and interacting with the community. So I noticed that I thought that that displeased me, shall we say? But also, I noticed when I was reading Davita's Harp that in the last sections, who should appear in her grade school classroom, and at graduation, but the hero of the Chosen and if anybody, you know, has ever heard of Chekhov's Gun, in which the playwright Yes, but the playwright says, If a gun appears in Act One, it better go off by act three. You can't set up your audience to keep wondering when this gun is gonna go off and then not have it go off. So I was thinking, why would why would Potok have stuck the hero this back in a book 20 years later? So I thought, Ah, he must have planned for a sequel, he must have planned something where the two would get together big because clearly any reader would wonder why that character was introduced. Well, nothing happened. Potok of blessing memory died in 2002, which was before I even got my Rashi's daughter's series started. And there was no book. At that point, I started thinking how I would have gotten the back together how I would have made this connection how I would have had, how do you call it, shot the Chekhov's gun that Potok had left loaded there. And then so we're going to flash forward a little bit in 2007, I was approached by JPS, to write a young adult version of Rashi's daughters. And as it turns out, the editor approached me was Rena Potok the oldest daughter, where she was she was working there as an editor. And I told her about these imaginings I was having. And she was interested. I mean, she thought, you know that I that might, that might work. But what she did do, she encouraged me, she sent me lists of other works that he had written, later, short stories that were published that nobody ever knew about that included this female character. I guess he didn't get to write a book about her, but he certainly wrote other stories where she appeared, one of which she's an adult, and married to an unnamed professor at JTS. So I thought, Oh, okay. And my imagining it's got more so that I started doing research into the time period, and I thought, Okay, I'm gonna write something not only all are that you know, how they're gonna get together. By this point, I was full on feminism, I said, I'm gonna do backstories those nameless mothers
Tell me about the research you did to fill out their backstories.
So I started doing research into first of all lives of New York, Jewish women in the 1950s, but also in the 1920s when the earlier generation would would be around and I got that I wasn't going to that I was going to use the information pitiful as it was that was provided in his books, and use that as a as a starting point. I remember this time I was corresponding with Rena Potok. And she was encouraging me, shall we say, by giving me these these more information. As I was doing this research, just like with Rav Hidai's Daughters, and just along with along with Rashi's Daughters, I discovered some amazing stuff about what Jewish women were doing, which are not doing. So I'll tell you the two things that really amaze me, one of which was when I was trying to figure out what I've got to do with so anyway, I knew that Nathan had been born late in his parents marriage, that that his father was like 40, or close to 40, when when he was born. So I had to I had to think of myself what, what had gone on in those early years. Did he marry late or had he married, what we would consider a more average age of first marriage, but they had fertility problems. You can guess which one I did because one of them was going to be more Interesting in a novel, and it also gave me time to have his mother be doing stuff while she was married and not having children. And so, I discovered in my research, that it was orthodox women, Orthodox sisterhoods, who were the impetus for the big food manufacturers to accept the use of a hechsher. In the 1920s, in the late 1910s, the Jewish community, which was filling up with refugees and new immigrants from Eastern Europe, the women there were having a great deal of difficulty finding kosher food,
Just to clarify, the hechsher is the mark that indicates that a product is kosher.
This was way before there were laws about cans and jars having to list ingredients.
Yeah, so no,
let alone the process and the blessing and all that.
Right. And it was way before the time that any that any kind of food was monitored. I don't I don't remember when the FDA showed up, but certainly not in the 1910s 1920s. And so Jewish women did not know, really, they didn't trust necessarily a lot of their food contents and their kids were constantly nudging them. Why can't they do this? Why can't they eat that all my other friends are eating, you know, Campbell's soup, and, you know, this kind of ice cream. So the women got together, they managed to convince a significant number of regular food processors to accept what we now know as the O.U. hechsher I'm sure it's the most well known of lectures. Anyway, somehow, they convinced a significant or What shall we say a critical mass of food manufacturers to adopt the O.U. symbol that only of course, encouraged even more, because there wasn't much to it, if you didn't have meat in your product, it wasn't going to didn't cost you much to have a rabbi come and certify that. So I thought, Oh, that is really cool. And I would like to, you know, that's something my readers would like to know, I know that great. Nathan's mother can be majorly involved in that she doesn't have any children. She's Orthodox, who's gonna know who did it anyway, I did. I did a lot of research. We don't know who exactly did it. So I made her involved with that.
And what was the other major discovery?
What I also discovered was that even among orthodox women, mikve use was almost was was was non use, or very minimally use.
I was fascinated to learn that.
Yes, and I in those days, and I actually have the health reports from the New York Health Department on the condition of the mikves that were still in use, mainly apparently by men or largely by men who would come on Shabbat, or before holidays. They were never cleaned. They would get refilled from cisterns on the roof. It was well, we would say unsanitary to say the least. And the health department recognize this. They put in rules that the mikve had to be drained and cleaned once every 30 days.
Scary. And from what I heard, and read, apparently, the health department did not check this out too rigorously. So as women certainly into the 1920s and 1930s, everybody's got indoor plumbing. The if nothing else, you would have certainly taken a bath when you got home from one of those mikves if you went to it. What had happened is when the immigrants came, especially the ones that came in, in the late teens and early 20s, they did not come with their mothers. So there was a gap of who's going to teach the newlywed bride before her wedding what she's supposed to do. Rabbis had prepared these handbooks really don't tell you anything. Or at least there's nothing about them that have encouraged a woman to do it other than threats that have disease. In particular, men have all kinds of advices about why a woman should go to a mikvah because and so you know, yes, the Torah says so thank you very much. But many of these women, they didn't study Talmud they didn't study anything they didn't know. They looked at these books. They wouldn't be you know, this is not something you discussed in public. You didn't even discuss it with your best friend. So what a lot of women quickly figured out is I've got a perfectly good bathtub at home, which I would certainly want to use after so why should I go there? Right, others else others were a little more, we'll call them strict. They said, there's this very nice Russian bath, or Turkish bath, or what our fathers would have called the schvitz where I can go and immerse there. And apparently these baths encouraged this, because they had evening hours for women. But the ultimate to me evidence of this was that I got a mikvah manual by the New York orthodox board around New York rabbis Association back in the late 50s, which was not only a mikvah manual, but it had a listing of all the kosher orthodox mikvah, mikva'ot that there were in America. It was a very slim volume. Manhattan, there were only three.
Yeah, like okay, that obviously, very few women were going that there are only they only needed three mikvahs. So I thought, okay, between these two things, I have some interesting stuff about Nathan's mother, but also gave me a plot point for for the conflict.
Let's talk about the the main characters and story that this is basically the love story between Channah and Nathan. And so Channah is mid 20s. So on the older side,
They were the same age. They went to school together
So little on the older side for expected marrying age. She's been working as a reporter under a pen name and is sent to interview Nathan, and they reconnect and yeah, so tell tell us more about their actual story.
Okay, their story. But before, I want to say there is actually a subplot with another romance, that of the Hasidic son, who is now a child psychologist, we left him off because he was going to be a psychologist and maintain his Hasidism. And I quickly realized, Oh, come on, he's marrying a modern Orthodox or perhaps even a conservative Jewish girl. You're gonna have such major conflicts between them and her and their community. I got my plot for them. Right now.
Yeah, so that's Benny and Sharon.
Yes, Benny and Sharon. Okay, so Hannah, kind of following in her. She even though she's adopted into orthodox family at at the end of Davita's Harp, she was raised as a communist as a secular communist, and she goes to work for a communist Yiddish newspaper. And I base that on a real one, I actually use the name the Freiheit of the newspaper that was around at this time a very popular one, it only ceased publishing in 1988.
So I thought oh shall be perfect one to work there. And when Nathan gets his PhD, he is the becomes the first professor at, you know, at the Orthodox yeshiva, semi loosely based on Yeshiva University that has a PhD. So she finagles with the chief editor of the paper that she should go interview him even though normally they would have sent a man. But she says I, you know, we know each other, we went to school together, not mentioning that it's been like 12 years. So anyway, she goes, they hit it off, we get their inner voices. They are the two point of views of this book. Everybody else, we don't know what's inside their head. But these two we do. And you can tell and I make it clear sparks are fly already. And she has been burning all these years that she's never gotten the study Talmud. And so she she tells them I need to know some Talmud in order to write about you and write about what you do. You know, Can Can you teach me some? Which of course, nobody can teach some, some Talmud, though. But he is he has moved both by remembering how she was not able to study it before. And frankly, she's a very attractive woman, single woman. So he decides, Okay, after having some inner arguments that he would teach her in the next six weeks as they approach Passover, so at least she would get an idea. And he says, I'll teach he thinks to himself, I'll teach her the easy part. The section about Passover, where the four questions are in there, which I deliberately chose as the opening Talmud study for them. Because everybody is familiar with Passover, or at least I assume the majority of my readers would be familiar. So they start studying Talmud. And I can tell you when I briefly studied Talmud with my husband, it's very exciting. It's very intimate behavior. And I can understand why women should be forbidden only because because of the attraction that's likely to to flame up there, which it does, but they have to keep it secret. First of all, if he found out if anyone found out he was teaching woman, which is forbidden in Orthodoxy, not to mention the fact that he's being secluded with her, which is also forbidden. So if you read the first chapter, you know, the ending already, like, like any good romance novel, but they have to navigate between, well, he being Is he being caught, each one of them has to hide their growing attraction for the other, because he's the teacher, and teacher, student relationships are fraught with all kinds of complications, that that usually ends up badly. So that's, that's the problem for like half the book.
And that's one thing I really enjoyed about their story is that they did fall in love by doing an activity together, that they were studying together that it wasn't going on a date is such a tense thing, you know, that you're trying to figure out a person, but this is they're getting to know each other through this study. So I thought that was really beautiful.
I really liked that, because it seemed highly realistic to them to come up with some way that they would meet at a date. I do have their fathers who don't know they're studying together. Of course, nobody knows. But she's done this interview. So their families know that she interviewed him that she spent a bunch of time with him. There's one point where he shows up at the beach, where he knows that her family spends the summer there. And maybe it's only a Freudian thing, but they encounter each other. And he ends up having lunch there. So now the parents know even that they've seen each other. So so the fathers actually, this was another fun part of my research was there's a lot of baseball in Potok's early novels. And so I looked up and learned that 1955 was the year I mean, there's always an intense rivalry between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Yankees, the Yankees always won went to the World Series and one, but for one year, which occurs during the time period of my novel, Brooklyn wins is seven games. So as a LA Dodger fan, and my father was one, you know, I got to throw in that particular piece of information.
My parents, my parents are both from Brooklyn, and they still haven't forgiven the Dodgers for leaving. So funny. So a question about their their Talmud study is that one major theme in here is that Nathan is a slightly controversial scholar because he uses textual criticism. Can you explain what that is? And as a Talmud student yourself, do you use this approach?
I don't use this approach. Because today, since I've been studying Talmud, textual criticism, which is now totally accepted, so nobody has to defend it, and nobody has to argue about it. But what did we know now that the Talmud is not one book that was written and published in an entire piece like modern books, for the first 1000 years that there was Talmud. It was it's called the oral law. It's still called the oral law, but it really was oral men memorize different pieces of it. Very few people could memorize all of it. And the scholars that there were only like four yeshivot at this time in the world, and particularly the yeshivot that were in Israel, and in Babylonia, which had been in competition with each other, since like 200 CE, they had people who just memorize big chunks of it. And there was also by the time at least of Rashi, you didn't study the whole Tolmud. There were certain pieces of it you needed for law for making legal decisions. And even today, they don't study the whole Talmud in a yeshiva. There are very specific sections that you study intensively and other sections that nobody ever opens the book. But of course, starting about in rush each time and then accelerating, people started writing it down. Nobody could remember all that. And they would write down at least the Mishnah which is shorter. And actually Rashi, his big violation of you know, his violation of Jewish law at the time was not that He taught his daughters but that he wrote Talmud down
So by that by the time you get to like, like the 15th, or 16th, hundreds you have printing presses, even Jewish ones that are now printing these manuscripts, but they're all based on people's memories so that they come out different depending on which printer prints this, and you have clearly different manuscripts of the same piece of Talmud that are different. And ultimately, only in the late 1800s. Does the Vilna ShaS [Talmud] what the Orthodox world considers the absolute authoritative copy of the Talmud come into being, and this is printed, and that's what everybody refers to. And they pretend, or they don't go looking for it, or know about all these alternate texts, which would imply that the Talmud was not given by God to Moses, on Sinai, which is the still the official orthodox view, right? At least the ultra orthodox, now even the modern Orthodox, except that it was put together by people. God may have been the inspiration. But nobody talks about it, because you can't really agree. And there's still a lot of controversy, at least between the ultra orthodox but in Nathan's time and in the time, this is what we learned from the time that Potok wrote his novels, that there was a lot of controversy. There were modern Orthodox scholars, who were finding all these alternative texts, which totally changed the meaning of Jewish law, but also what it changed. What it assaulted was this belief that the whole Talmud a whole or law was given to Moses in one piece, and is like Torah, it's an alterable, unchallengeable. They had written proof, especially to the 1950s they had plenty of manuscripts. And nowadays, even you know, if you use the Shottenstein, the notes showing tell you Oh, there's another manuscript that has these words instead, you'll get a little asterix. But you know, that's now. So Nathan's method of teaching, which at the very end of the promise he gets hired to teach this at the yeshiva is going to be rejected by the deal of students, but also the students who sign up for his class and some who audit his class are very interested in this, especially if they're modern Orthodox. And a lot of my research was trying to find examples of that, that I could put in my book that would be not so esoteric that no but that I didn't want I didn't want the Talmud pages, that piece of Talmud I include and there's like 20 of the sugiyot [portions] that I put in there they study mostly all involved with like women's position and Jewish law, I finally got to collect all the research I had done on how unfairly and unequally in most cases, women are treated by the halachah [Jewish law] at the time, particularly the way the halachah that said women are forbidden that not only women are forbidden to study, men, even their fathers are forbidden to teach them. Obviously, that that's been overturned. I even give you an argument at the end where you get the most modern response, uh, that says why today's women should study should they should study Talmud. But in any case, so I had that was that research was really tricky, and frankly, most of it too esoteric for me to use, but I managed to. And I did find it's a little more. The Orthodox, even ultra orthodox cannot object that you have two different versions of the Tosafot, which is 12th century. They're writing stuff down in those days, if you have two different versions, this is not what God gave us. This is what Grosh His disciples argued over, right? So I found alternative versions of that, which, which I included, but that's the controversy and eventually why what are the reasons that Nathan leaves the yeshiva? Like Potok did and moves to to JTS, where the students will not argue with him so much. And he'll have people that actually take his class because they're interested in it, not because they want to fight with it.
One of your subplots and a way that Hannah and Nathan connect with Benny and Sharon is the appalling presence of child molestation in that Hasidic community, and the community's protection of the perpetrator. So how did you decide to focus on this?
I really appreciate you asking that question because the subject is so taboo even today. that you're the first person and I've been doing interviews in Q and A's for a while preceding the pub date that who asked about this?
Yes. And I want to use it when I start giving book talks, because I actually have an answer that is simple. I knew that the conflict between Sharon and Benny was going to be over her not being accepted by his Hasidic community. And so I started doing research on the Hasidic communities, both in the 1950s. And let's face it in the last few years, but there's also been a upsurge of what somehow was called off the derech, memoirs of Orthodox people, the majority women writing their story of how and why they left. So I was reading these because I wanted to get the view of the women in the Orthodox community, so I could write about it accurately. And one of the first I came across is it was actually written by a woman who used a pseudonym called Hush. And it's about child molestation in the Hasidic community, in this case by a family member. But at this time, we also have big scandal in the Catholic Church. I think I watched spotlight like six times to get how this is done. And it didn't take much research, particularly in the New York Times to find out that this was an enormous problem in the Orthodox community, and even in the Hasidic community, I made up names for all the characters in in the choice except for one, the name of the ultra orthodox rabbi who molest the B'nai Mitzvah students, I base that on a real Rabbi, who was actually tried and convicted of like, you know, 12 counts of sodomy. And so I thought, Okay, I'm going to use his name. I don't want to accidentally use somebody's real name. You know, what I do a Google if I, you don't want anyone to know how many references there are to child molestation in Orthodox Judaism, especially that The New York Times, at least in the last 10 years, have maybe even you know, 20 years have printed. So as well as court records, and all kinds of stuff, I have no shortage of resources, that's for sure.
It's sad that there were so many resources for you.
Yes, in particular. But anyway,
I'd like to think that we're above all the social evils, but not at all; we have the same plagues that every other group has,
Yes. And Potok had conveniently finished the Promise with the Hasidic psychologist becoming a child psychologist, working at Columbia, he's staying in New York. So once you have a Hasidic child psychologist, parents of children who have been abused, who may not have been have known, they were abused, they just know there's something wrong with my kid, and he's withdrawn and what's going on, and they would consult this Hasidic child psychologist and trust him. So once I started reading about the problem, it's like, okay, well, I got the answer. And that talk about talking about a conflict, that not that my, that the couple has to deal with. It's a conflict that actually holds, you know, holds them kind of together. And I have, of course, the dragging in Nathan, I have one of his students, you know, attempt to commit suicide because which apparently this was not uncommon for children that had this problem. And that's how Nathan got involved. And then it turns out that Hannah had been called in to write an article because there were rumors about a child molestation at a girls school. And anyway, so she goes she I have a back story. She works for a year in this school and finds out who is the molestor is it really happening? Yes. And who it is, and newspaper the Yiddish newspaper squashes her story.
And the solution to that had been to just move that person to do another issue where they get to molest more kids.
So anyway, I'm glad you asked that question. I thought it was really important to expose it also. Come on, it was a great plot point of light, great source of controversy and an angst for my sub character.
It's always good when those two things come together. So one thing that I was surprised and I know that you've researched this is that Nathan went to dancehalls and was known to be a great dancer.
Yes. Okay. First of all, I had evidence of that because well, I could see my my father's generation, my father was exactly that generation. I have photos from his family's relatives, Orthodox weddings, they are dancing, mixed dancing at the weddings. And back before television, everybody went to dance halls, everybody, Jews, this, this is what you did. And in the Brooklyn Library, and one of the things that I found was okay, you know, synagogues today, they all have what we call seat bulletins, or little news, weekly news, letters for the for the members of the synagogues, they handed they handed out on Shabbat. And there's a collection of those in the Brooklyn history section. And I'm looking through these days because it's going to tell me a lot about what's going on. And lo and behold, the synagogues are having dances, they're holding dances regularly, how else are the men and women, the single couples going to meet? So So I know that it's happening, so much fun. But I think I made it kind of clear that Nathan is going to dance halls where there's Jewish is a lot of Jewish women there. And what's the proof of this, which I I couldn't put it in the book, because it happened later, is in the late 1950s, early 1960s. Moshe Feinstein who was the like the ultimate posuk, the Orthodox rabbi that you write to with questions about a halachah. Apparently, got complaints or questions about Jews going to dance halls. And he writes a responsea, ostensibly about wearing covering your head wearing kipa'ot and outside of Jewish venues. He tells us that he doesn't say Jewish man, but it's obvious because he's talking about kippot. He says he, he should even okay, even though it's forbidden to go to the cinema, the dance hall and the theater. If he goes, he should wear his keep up. Two years later, another one, even though it's forbidden to frequent dance halls, if he does, he should wear Kippah. The fact that they write the same response twice tells us
still on people's minds, people were still doing it.
People were still doing it, and they were certainly ignoring Moshe Feinstein. Yeah. That question I got so many times. What am I working on next? If you had asked me this question, a month ago, I would have asked you don't answer. Don't ask me that question. Because I, I'm not planning to write any more books. But Famous last words, with all of the disaster that is unfolding in Ukraine. There's a lot of books being written and more interest scholars of the history in the Ukraine and Jews in Ukraine because of Solinsky is the President is Jewish. So there's new Spotlight there. And so I heard like a book talk by Jeffrey Weidlinger, who is like the expert on the pogroms in Ukraine, that happened around the First World War, in which hundreds of 1000s of Jews were killed and or fled the confluence of the Russian Civil War between the communists and czarist and World War One. Of course, when you're fighting, it's all the Jews fault. So there were all these pogroms, but that's when my parents families fled Ukraine. And I had way back in the Roots days of genealogy. I did some genealogy on my husband's family, because his had been in America for a long time, but I tried to do some on my parents, ones and pretty much got stopped in 20th century, I couldn't get past that. So that's what I thought, Okay, I am going to take and I had interviewed a bunch of my father's family members about questions. What was it like back then? And I have and I looked up a lot of records, census records, I have the ship's manifest when they came, I have even the ship manifest when they left that was on a different ship. So apparently, they had to get off someplace and then wait and get another ship. And I thought, I'm gonna write a historical novel based on my family's experiences of this war, why they fled, how they fled, how they managed to get here, there's, you know, that kind of stuff, I think That's an interesting care of the thought I'm gonna focus again on the women.
I have one last question for you. If someone were to use your book as a call to action for tikkun olam for repairing the world, what would it be? What would you like to see done?
From this book, I would like to see orthodox women getting their act together to get rid of the marriage inequalities, the number of women in that are left as agunah, whose husbands will not give them a divorce, even though the husband can, you know, have other wives and other children and it's not a problem. The number of but women are, are constrained like this, at least women can study Talmud now for the most part, but there's still so much inequality, that women cannot divorce their husbands, that they're still that there's leftover from the Bible. If a if a woman's husband dies before they have children. She needs a release from his brother. That's the law in Israel.
Okay. So we'll take that as your rallying call.
Yeah, I don't know who to donate your money to. But if you want to donate money to remedy stuff while there's HIAS still still working for Jewish refugees
Wonderful organization. All right. Maggie, thank you so much for talking to me, I really appreciate it. If you are interested in any of the books we discussed today, you can find them at your favorite board and brick or online bookstore or at your local library. Thanks to Die Yankee for use of their fraleigh which definitely makes me happy. This podcast is a project of the Association of Jewish libraries. And you can find more about it at Jewish libraries.org/niceJewishbooks. I would like to thank AJL and my podcast mentor Heidi Rabinowitz, from our sister podcast, the book of life, a show about Jewish kidlit, mostly
this is Dana Lawrence, author of Wayward creatures. I'll be joining you soon on the Book of Life podcast and dedicate this episode to Rabbi David Edelson. Rabbi Edelson is my rabbi here in Vermont. And I want to thank him for inspiring me to reengage with my Jewish heritage and for bringing so much joy and music into my in my family's religious life.
The Book of Life is the sister podcast of nice Jewish books. I'm your host, Heidi Rabinowitz and I podcast about Jewish kidlit join me in May 2022, to hear my conversation with Dana Lorenz, author of Wayward creatures at Book of Life podcast.com