WRJ Shares A Unique, Feminist Perspective on Shavuot

June 3, 2022Heather Lorgeree

One of the basic tenets of Judaism, Torah study, is particularly significant to WRJ. Over the years, WRJ has also advocated for equal rights for women in Jewish learning and participation in and leading worship. WRJ brings a unique, feminist perspective to Reform Jewish study and provides a bounty of resources from which to learn and pray. Many people participate in Torah study for Shavuot, and WRJ has these resources for you.

Did you know that WRJ has a Torah? Completed in 2001, the Torat Nashim is the WRJ Torah that travels to sisterhoods, congregations, WRJ Districts, and Reform Movement organizations worldwide for conventions and special occasions. Both sisterhoods and WRJ Districts can request to use the Torah at an event. Torat Nashim was created over the course of three WRJ Assemblies: Dallas in 1997, Orlando in 1999, and Boston in 2001. Attendees were able to write letters of the Torah alongside the scribe, and donations were solicited for the Fund of the Generations endowment. For information about using the WRJ Torah, please contact WRJ at info@wrj.org.

While the Torat Nashim project was in progress, WRJ also started working on the creation of "The Torah: A Women's Commentary." WRJ commissioned the work of more than 100 of the world's leading Jewish female Bible scholars, rabbis, cantors, theologians, historians, philosophers, sociologists, poets, and archaeologists whose collective efforts resulted in the first comprehensive commentary on the Five Books of Moses to be authored only by women. This publication was introduced in grand style with a party at the December 2007 WRJ Assembly and URJ Biennial in San Diego. In 2008, it won the National Jewish Book Council Everett Family Foundation's Jewish Book of the Year Award. There have been multiple printings due to its popularity; you can bring the commentary home here.

One of the most common questions we get at the WRJ office is, "Where are the Torah Study Guides?" You can find them on our website! There are study guides for every parashah, which WRJ encourages you to use with your copy of The Torah: A Women's Commentary.

In 2013, in honor of WRJ's Centennial, we published 12 Divrei Torah for use by WRJ sisterhoods at meetings and other events. Cynthia Roosth Wolf wrote these pieces to honor women of our ancestral and organizational past, lift up the core values and successes of WRJ, and celebrate the unique qualities of womankind. Although they were written to celebrate WRJ's Centennial, these 12 Divrei Torah are wonderful Torah study resources to use at any time.

Another way to enhance your Torah study is to read Voices of WRJ. This weekly blog series, published on Fridays on WRJ's blog, features insights from WRJ leaders on the Torah portions from a women's perspective. 

Are you still looking for Shavuot Torah study ideas? URJ created a virtual "Tour of the Torah": a great resource to share with your community for Shavuot. We make our way through the scroll in less than two minutes, stopping to highlight important passages along the way. Find the video at the bottom of their Torah Study landing page or in the article describing the Torah, "Torah: The Tree of Life." The World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) has opportunities for you to join Shavuot programs from around the world.

However you decide to celebrate Shavuot, we wish you a Chag Sameach!


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