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Around Sarah's Table

Around Sarah's Table

Ten Hasidic Women Share Their Stories of Life, Faith, and Tradition

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In the tradition of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club and Holy Days by Lis Harris, Rivka Zakutinsky and Yaffa Leba Gottlieb show the inner workings of a fascinating community of women that few outsiders will enter on their own. With humor and sensitivity, Around Sarah's Table focuses on the lives of ten Hasidic women and on the insights each gains from the weekly Torah reading, illustrating the ways in which each woman's life is infused with Judaism.

Brooklyn, 1991: A few Hasidic women begin meeting once a week for lunch and intimate learning with friends. The few soon grow to many, from backgrounds as diverse as those of any other segment of the Jewish population. Gathered together by Sarah -- mother of thirteen, girls' high school principal, facilitator, connector, and hostess -- they called themselves the "Women's Tuesday Torah Luncheon and Study Group." From Reva the publisher to Rachel the mikvah maven, Klara the lawyer, Levana the rebbitzin, and others, the daily joys and sorrows of each allow us to see through the stereotypes to truly connect with the real women who lie behind those images.

With the eyes, ears, and hearts of storytellers, Zakutinsky and Gottlieb generously introduce us to their very personal spiritual realm. Amidst a world filled with spiritual unrest and anxiety, Around Sarah's Table offers inspirational Hasidic and biblical interpretation gathered by women, for both women and men to follow. Less concerned with an academic approach to Bible study than with the traditional methods of "learning," the authors never seem to lose sight of how the ancient texts apply to their contemporary lives.

Fast paced but reverent, Around Sarah's Table introduces us to the unique experience of living life as a Hasidic woman, and reminds us that beyond all the labels that tend to keep us apart, we are all very much alike.
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  • Free Press | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451636529 | 
  • September 2011
List Price $19.99
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Shaina: Journey to the Other Side

Parshas Lech-Lecha


The Lord said to Abram, "Go out, from your land, from your birthplace, and from your father's house, to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you great. You shall become a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you."

-- Genesis 12:1, 2

Abraham's service, characterized by "proceeding beyond" his own limitations, set the standard for his descendants, the Jewish people. The secret of Abraham's... see more

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