Strong Jewish Women

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Moses's "Women" -- Yocheved, Miriam, Batya and Tzippora


Moshe (Moses), the greatest leader of the Jewish people, owed a lot to four women in his life.

When Amram, the grandson of Levi, heard that Pharaoh was ordering the midwives to throw all the Jewish baby boys into the Nile River, he separated from his wife Yocheved. At the time they had two children -- Miriam and Aharon (Aaron). Miriam told her father that Pharaoh had only decreed against the boys, but by separating from his wife, he was decreeing also against the girls. So Miriam got her parents back together.

Because of the separation, though, the Egyptian officials didn't plan on checking on Yocheved for 9 months after they got back together. But miraculously, a baby boy was born 6 months after Amram and Yocheved got back together. For 3 months the were able to hide him, since no one expected Yocheved to have a baby for 3 more months. But after the 3 months Yocheved knew the Egyptian officials would come by and find her son, so she put him in a tar coated hay basket and sent him floating in the River.

Batya, the daughter of Pharaoh, saw the basket and the baby and decided she wanted to raise him. She named his Moshe. Miriam saw her take the baby and asked her if she wanted a wet nurse to nurse the baby. This is how Moshe was nursed by his own mother after being "adopted" by Pharaoh's daughter.

Later in his life, Moshe, who grew up in the palace, saw an Egyptian overseer beating a Jewish worker (slave). Trying to get the man to stop beating the slave, he hit him and killed him and buried him in the ground. He knew, at that point, that he needed to run, so he ran. Eventually, he ran to Midyan where he met Tzippora, the daughter of the Midyanite priest, Yitro. Moshe stayed with Yitro, married Tzippora, they had two sons and he worked as a shepherd.

Because G-d called Moshe to get his people out of Egypt a short time after his second son was born, Moshe didn't have time to circumcise him. On their way back to Egypt, an angel came and was about to kill Moshe because his son was uncircumcised. Tzippora saw the angel and knew why he was there. She grabbed a sharp rock, circumcised her son and threw the foreskin at Moshe's feet.

Check out merchandise with three of Moshe's "women":
Yocheved: Yocheved
Miriam: Miriam
Tzippora: Tzippora

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Welcome to Strong Jewish Women


Let's Begin at the Beginning

I guess everything has to start somewhere and this is where I'm starting...

It's time for young Jewish women to remember (or learn???) that Judaism and the Jewish bible have long traditions of Strong women. Beginning even before the Tora was given, women show their strength of character and strength of morality as a shining example for generations of women.

Three of the four Imahot (Matriarchs) had difficulty having children. I believe this was to show that a woman's worth is not solely in her ability to have children. Sara, who didn't become a mother until she was 90 years old, was Avraham's help mate throughout their lives. He listened to her advice and worked with her to welcome guests into their home.

In addition to the Matriarchs, the first 5 books in the Tora (the Pentateuch) include stories of many strong women, Tamar, Miriam, Tzippora, the 5 daughters of Zelaphhod, for example. The Nach -- Prophets and the Writings include stories of many more women including two, Ruth and Esther, who even had books named after them.

As an artist, I have begun to create designs centered around these women. You can see them at
Strong Jewish Women merchandise

Jewish Foremothers


As I'm sure you might be able to figure out, I'm quite new to blogging. I finally figured out how to get things going here.

One of the nice things about being Jewish is that we, as Jews and as women, have many roll models. Our roll models aren't perfect. Human beings are never perfect. And the Tora doesn't whitewash the faults of the heroes (male and female). We know that Avraham lied about his relationship with Sara (he told the Egyptians that she was his sister, not his wife), we know that Yehuda wasn't always faithful to his wife, we know that David had a man killed so he could marry the man's wife (Batsheva), and we know that Sara laughed when she hears that she'd become a mother at the age of 90. But we also know that we are all descended from Avraham and Sara, that the kingship of David is descended from Yehuda and his daughter-in-law Tamar, and that the Moshiach (Messiah) will be descended from David and Batsheva.

The lesson of Tora and Judaism is that no matter what you do, you can repent. G-d forgives our sins if we are truly sorry and promise not to do it again (and mean it!). We are descended from imperfect people, and we ourselves are imperfect. Perfection only exists in G-d, not in human beings. But that doesn't doom us to transgress in the future.

Read more about Judaism and Strong Jewish Women at:
Strong Biblical Women
Strong Biblical Women 2

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