The Acci­den­tal Fem­i­nist: How Eliz­a­beth Tay­lor Raised Our Con­scious­ness and We Were Too Dis­tract­ed By Her Beau­ty to Notice

M.G. Lord
  • From the Publisher
April 27, 2012
There was more to the late actress Eliz­a­beth Tay­lor than star­dom, dia­monds, and AIDS phil­an­thropy. In 1959, she con­vert­ed to Judaism at Los Ange­les’ Tem­ple Israel, tak­ing the Hebrew name, Elishe­ba Rachel. For nine months she stud­ied with Rab­bi Max Nuss­baum and reg­u­lar­ly attend­ed syn­a­gogue — fierce­ly embrac­ing her Jew­ish iden­ti­ty through­out her life. Her 1963 movie, Cleopa­tra, was in part shot in Italy because being Jew­ish made enter­ing Egypt chal­leng­ing. She was ardent fundrais­er for Israel. In 1977, she offered her­self as a hostage in exchange for the hijack vic­tims at Entebbe. (Though appre­cia­tive, Israel declined the offer.) And in 1980, vir­tu­al­ly pro-bono, she nar­rat­ed Geno­cide, a film pro­duced by the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter, which became the first Holo­caust doc­u­men­tary to win an Acad­e­my Award. With The Acci­den­tal Fem­i­nist: How Eliz­a­beth Tay­lor Raised Our Con­scious­ness And We Were Too Dis­tract­ed by Her Beau­ty To Notice, author M. G. Lord reveals an expect­ed dimen­sion to this remark­able Jew­ish woman: her sedi­tious, under-the-radar chal­lenges to tra­di­tion­al women’s roles. In her win­ning new book, Jonathan Kirsch wrote in the Jew­ish Jour­nal, Lord rais­es Tay­lor from the realm of par­o­dy,” seek­ing to install her in the pan­theon of ground­break­ing fem­i­nist heroines.”

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