The Miri­am Tra­di­tion: Teach­ing Embod­ied Torah

Cia Saut­ter
  • Review
By – November 1, 2011
The Miri­am Torah presents a thor­ough and engag­ing look at the role of dance in Sephardic women’s Jew­ish prac­tice. Using bib­li­cal and rab­binic sources to pro­vide con­text, Saut­ter explores the pos­si­ble mean­ings of cer­tain dances, focus­ing espe­cial­ly on how and when women might have per­formed these dances and how such dances might have fit into the prac­tices of the Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty in gen­er­al. Most note­wor­thy is Sautter’s incor­po­ra­tion of fem­i­nism and the­o­ry of dance into her analy­sis; these sec­u­lar ana­lyt­ic tools shed new light on a fas­ci­nat­ing subject. 

Though over­all an excel­lent work, a few sec­tions of Sautter’s analy­sis slip from help­ful expla­na­tion to con­jec­ture stretched a bit too far. Read­ers will nev­er­the­less appre­ci­ate the atten­tion to detail and cre­ative think­ing that makes this book exceptional. 

The Miri­am Tra­di­tion is pri­mar­i­ly intend­ed for aca­d­e­m­ic audi­ences. Read­ers will ben­e­fit from famil­iar­i­ty with well-known authors such as Rachel Adler, Judith Plaskow, Tik­va Frymer-Ken­sky, and Car­ol Mey­ers as they read Sautter’s impor­tant con­tri­bu­tion to this field. Bib­li­og­ra­phy, index, notes.

Rachel Sara Rosen­thal is an envi­ron­men­tal attor­ney in Wash­ing­ton, DC. Orig­i­nal­ly from Greens­boro, North Car­oli­na, she grad­u­at­ed from Duke Uni­ver­si­ty in 2003 and Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty School of Law in 2006.

Discussion Questions