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New book features queer Orthodox Jewish women
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2012-03-21

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About 30 people attended a reading and discussion for the anthology, "Keep Your Wives Away From Them: Orthodox Women, Unorthodox Desires" at Women and Children First Bookstore March 14.

Editor Miryam Kabakov, as well as contributors Goldie Goldbloom and Elaine Chapnik, were on hand to read their essays.

The anthology features the stories of 14 women and their journeys in the LBTQ world as they reconcile their queerness with their Orthodox Jewish faith. The essays, by women who were or are Orthodox Jews, give a voice to lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jewish women who were once silenced and effectively made invisible by their faith.

Kabakov, founder of the NY Orthodykes, said the title "refers to the group of women in the Orthodox community that you should not let your wives see, meaning women who have relationships with other women and essentially disrupt the social order."

Before reading an excerpt from her essay, "I Will See You on the Way Out", Kabakov shared a little bit about the inspiration for the book, her background in the Orthodox Jewish community and her coming-out process.

Goldbloom, a Chicago resident who's a visiting professor of creative writing at Northwestern University and Chassidic mother of eight children, read from her essay, "You Lose These: A Little Review of my Life in Eighteen Episodes."

Chapnik, a lawyer from New York City, read from her article, "Women Known for These Acts, Through the Rabbinic Lens: A Study of Hilchot Lesbiut" on what the Torah, the Talmud and modern Jewish law say about lesbianism.

Closing out the evening, the authors took questions from the audience and then signed copies of their book.

See www.keepyourwivesawayfromthem.com .


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