Why is it that after decades of self-exile, now in late midlife, in response to no coercion or social pressure, with both my parents gone and my two children grown, week after week, to my own amazement, hineni, my long-lost brothers and sisters – I am here?
There was good reason for my rupture with this heritage so many decades ago. Judaism is the enthronement of the upstart Yahweh, the bad-tempered patriarchal usurper who triumphs over the Canaanite Goddess and drives the primordial Chochma, embodiment of feminine wisdom, underground. I have never been convinced that Yahweh replaced Chochma-Sophia, or Astarte, for that matter, with a consistently superior regime.
Throughout the centuries, Jewish women have been excluded from study and prayer, these two together are the core of our tradition. With my coming of age as a young woman I found nothing but dismissal for the curiosity that quickened my mind, censure for the erotica that animated my body, displeasure for the dance that defied limitation.
Now, after decades of avoidance, a tentative exploration has blossomed into a serious courtship and this to no one’s greater amazement than my own. Why is it that I – and so many women like me – are returning to the scene of the rupture? I write to you from the (nervously) twisted fringe, with ambivalence, terror and longing to share.