Torah Queeries: Week­ly Com­men­taries on the Hebrew Bible

Gregg Drinkwa­ter, Joshua Less­er and David Shneer, eds.

  • Review
By – October 10, 2011

Some­times it is pos­si­ble to learn a great deal about a book sim­ply by judg­ing its cov­er. The cov­er of Torah Queeries is almost com­plete­ly black and white, with the words, Week­ly Com­men­taries on the Hebrew Bible” (the book’s sub­ti­tle) in square, block let­ter­ing. The cen­ter of the page is the image of an open Torah scroll focus­ing most clear­ly on a sec­tion from Parashat Bal­ak, where­in a sur­pris­ing char­ac­ter ini­tial­ly hired to curse Israel instead offers Israel a bless­ing. The yad point­ing to these vers­es is bright pink, as is the word Queeries.” Torah Queeries is a com­pi­la­tion of writ­ings where­in queer Jews take own­er­ship of tra­di­tion­al text. The book offers a pink yad to point the way to new and renewed under­stand­ings of the Torah for the entire Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ty. Also, straight allies (some of the most impor­tant names in Judaism) explore queer approach­es to Jew­ish text. As the high­light­ed yad would indi­cate, this book is about how we read text; it is less about who is doing the read­ing. Torah Queeries comes to teach a new approach to look­ing at tra­di­tion­al text. As Judith Plaskow reminds us in her fore­ward to the anthol­o­gy, turn it and turn it again, for every­thing is in it” (Pirkei Avot, 5:25).

Julie Pelc Adler is a rab­bi and a co-edi­tor of the anthol­o­gy Join­ing the Sis­ter­hood: Young Jew­ish Women Write Their Lives (State Uni­ver­si­ty of New York Press, 2003). She is the assis­tant direc­tor of the Kals­man Insti­tute on Judaism and Health at HUC in Los Ange­les and also teach­es under­grad­u­ate cours­es in the Lit­er­a­ture and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Depart­ment at the Amer­i­can Jew­ish University.

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