In If We Could Hear Them Now, Alice Becker Lehrer offers a refreshing new way of exploring the lives of female Jewish biblical and secular heroines, using the art of conversation in an interview format. The author draws upon the classic texts of midrash and biblical commentary to provide the foundation and then, in true midrashic fashion, fills in the blanks with the imaginary voices of the women.
We hear from well-known women such as Tamar and Tziporah and some lesser known characters such as Rachel the wife of Akiva. Each interview is preceded by a short introduction that provides historical and biblical background on the character to help the reader follow the interview.
During the interview, the author, in traditional midrash fashion, fills in the gaps by asking questions and letting the character come through in a contemporary voice. Some examples are quite compelling, such as asking Tzipora what it was like to be married to Moses. In the section on Ruth, Ruth and Naomi interview each other, which provides an interesting conversation.
This book is a welcome change from the recent spate of midrashic novels. It provides us with a new commentary on Jewish heroines from biblical to modern times.