Dabri Torah: Israeli Women's Pluralistic Torah Commentary, Edited by Rabbi Alona Lisitsa, Ph.D.

Dabri Torah: Israeli Women Interpret the TorahOver a decade in the making, Dabri Torah: Israeli Women Interpret the Torah, edited by Rabbi Alona Lisitsa, Ph.D., provides a pluralistic Israeli women’s Torah commentary, including prose, poetry, and scholarly interpretations of the Torah weekly portions.

Rabbi Lisitsa explains, “This book is unique for its inclusion of Torah text and interpretation by women reflecting the diversity of Israeli society, including ethnic and sexual identities, academic expertise in different fields, and the full spectrum of Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, secular, and traditional religious backgrounds. I wanted to make it clear that the Torah belongs to all who wish to partake in it and to add women’s voices to millennia of traditional male interpretation.”

Rabbi Lisitsa is Professor of Rabbinics and Liturgy in the Year-In-Israel Program, Professor of Halakha and Rabbinic Texts in the Israeli Rabbinical Program, and Coordinator of Rabbinical Internship and Mentoring in the Israeli Rabbinical Program, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion’s (HUC) Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem.

Dabri Torah includes contributions by 200 women, among them 15 HUC graduates and 12 members of the HUC faculty, including Rabbi Lisitsa; Dean Rabbi Kelman; Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D.; Rabbi Tamara Cohen Eskenazi, Ph.D.; Rabbi Dalia Marx, Ph.D.; Rabbi Tamar Duvdevani, Ph.D.; Rabbi Talia Avnon Benveniste; Ruhama Weiss, Ph.D.; Michal Muszkat-Barkan, Ph.D.; Rabbi Ayala Shashua-Miron; Rivka Rosner; and Yona Arzi.

Rabbi Kelman states, “With the publication of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, the English-language commentary edited by Rabbi Tamara Eskenazi, Ph.D. and Rabbi Andrea Weiss, Ph.D. and published in 2008 by Women of Reform Judaism, I began to dream of a Hebrew version. Over a decade ago, HUC President Rabbi Ellenson and HUC Board of Governors Chair Barbara Friedman, committed the support we needed to start the project. After numerous attempts and editors explored what might work for Israeli Hebrew speakers, Rabbi Lisitsa took the lead and brought this book to an extraordinary finish.  Dabri Torah is a celebration of women’s wisdom and sensibilities, breathing new meaning to our beloved and challenging sacred Torah. We are grateful to Rabbi Hara Person and Women of Reform Judaism for years of ongoing encouragement and support, as well as Sheila Lambert who got us to the final printing. On a personal note, the time it took made it possible for my daughter Rabbi Leora Ezrachi-Vered ‘17 to be a contributor, along with me.”

Rabbi Ellenson adds, “This book is a landmark achievement. Rabbi Alona Lisitsa has gathered together and lifted up the voices of women across the spectrum of Israeli life to display the spiritual depths and wisdom of Torah for us all. This work constitutes a rare and needed gift to the Jewish people and our Mesorah (tradition).”

Dabri Torah is published by HUC and Carmel Publishing House and will be available in shops and online in June 2021. Learn more about the book here.

Rabbi Alona Lisitsa

Rabbi Alona Lisitsa earned her Ph.D. in Talmud and Ancient Texts from the Tel Aviv University and is a former rabbi of Kibbutz Yahel. Rabbi Lisitsa teaches Rabbinic texts, Talmud, Halakha, and Liturgy at HUC’s Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem and is the Coordinator of Rabbinic Internship and Mentoring at HUC’s Israeli Rabbinic Program. She is the editor of Dabri Torah: Israeli Women Interpret the Torah and co-editor of Parashat haMayim: Immersion in Water as an Opportunity for Renewal and Spiritual GrowthDrishat Shalom: Torah Commentaries by Israeli Reform Rabbis, and the new Israeli Reform siddur, Tefilat haAdam. Rabbi Lisitsa is a sponsoring rabbi for the EBD for conversions in Spain and Portugal.