Bread and Fire is an anthology of stories by Jewish women of various backgrounds, family histories, and religious upbringing. But their stories all have one thing in common — a search for the sacred within a secular world. Each story touches on a life cycle event, ritual, or transition in the woman’s life that is transformed into a sacred moment.
A woman tells of baking challah and while it may be considered a specific Shabbat role for the women, it can be a moment of connection to God that goes beyond the task of making bread. Some of the stories tell of pain such as losing a parent or obtaining a get. The recitation of kaddish or gaining a deeper understanding of a ritual can be a turning point in one’s life. It becomes a moment of holiness that connects the person to her community and ultimately to God.
It is a feminist interpretation, not because it urges women to ignore traditional ritual, but rather, to interpret ritual in a new way that gives women unique spiritual connections rather than the fulfillment of a traditional role.