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Sunday, April 15 • 9:30am - 10:30am
Reading Jewish Women: The Benefit of Marginality A SpeakChorus

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In her book Reading Jewish Women:  Marginality and Modernization in Nineteenth-Century Eastern European Jewish Society, Iris Parush makes a paradoxical claim.  The award-winning professor of Modern Hebrew Literature at Ben Gurion University argues that, because Jewish women were marginalized and neglected by the rabbinic authorities, they were free to read secular literature in German, Yiddish, Polish and Russian.  The freedom and latitude enjoyed by these reading women exposed them to a wealth of literature.  They became important conduits for Enlightenment ideas and ideals within the 19th century Eastern European Jewish community.

In this participatory workshop we will explore Parush's thesis:  that the very status of women as inferiors allowed many to gain superior literacy skills, gave them an advantage in traditional society's encounter with modernity, and enabled them to function as agents of social change.  We will "embody" these reading Jewish women, become them and their experiences, through a SpeakChorus, a modern version of the Chorus in Greek dramas.  This mix of poetry, flash mob, traditional and modern midrash and commentary with a bit of singing thrown in for good measure, brings historical events alive in a unique performance style using spoken word and music.  Where will it take us?

avatar for Susan Shamash

Susan Shamash

Rabbi Susan Shamash was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and grew up in Edmonton, Alberta.  She graduated from the University of Alberta with a BA Honours in Political Science in 1972 and from the University of British Columbia with an LLB in 1980.  In between degrees she... Read More →

Sunday April 15, 2018 9:30am - 10:30am PDT
Room F