‘At its heart, Judaism is about – is supposed to be about – trouble-making.’
From the prophets who admonished the leaders and people of Israel for their ethical misconduct through to the rabbis who troubled the Torah to make meaning for Jewish life, Judaism has been engaged with troubling and trouble making.
Trouble-making is about challenging and disrupting the status quo. It is also about being troubled and troubling our Jewish texts and inheritance to adapt and change in response to the lives of Jewish individuals, families and communities here and now.
The book falls into four parts. Beginning with an exploration of some trouble-making precedents – the Torah’s account of the creation of humanity, Miriam, the 2nd century scholar, B’ruria, and the first woman rabbi, Regina Jonas – Elli Tikvah Sarah goes on to explore: the struggle for gender equality and the inclusion of lesbian and gay Jews, ways of engaging as Jews and Jewish communities to foster Jewish life today, and the challenge to acknowledge, both, Israel and Palestine.
Reviews of Trouble-Making Judaism by Elli Tikvah Sarah
‘Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah… has written a book with the power to awaken and inspire. The Trouble-making Judaism she lauds is creative, irreverent, engaged, and boundary-crossing. It’s also deeply engaged with Jewish texts and theology. Her feminist-inspired rereading of traditional texts is creative, provocative, and inspiring. Her Trouble-making is not confined to biblical texts, so her voice of Jewish sanity addresses many of the troubling issues facing Jewish life in the twenty-first century.’
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine
‘For more than 20 years, Rabbi Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah has been at the forefront of the struggle for egalitarianism in Judaism – both as a feminist and as one of the first openly gay or lesbian rabbis to break through the heterosexual monopoly… What shines through the book is her love of text study, which roots her ideas in close analysis of the language of Torah.’
Simon Rocker, The Jewish Chronicle
‘Sarah is passionate, committed and eager to change the world… A formidable scholar, Sarah’s book is festooned with footnotes, testimony to a hard-won struggle with Judaism.’
Keith Kahn-Harris, New Humanist
‘With Trouble-Making Judaism, Elizabeth Sarah has thrown down a gauntlet to all Jews who wish to see their Judaism make an active, principled and powerful contribution to public debate and the needs of society. English Liberal Judaism is fortunate to have such a prophetic voice in its midst.’
Rabbi Dr Charles H Middleburgh
‘Elli turned trouble-making into a virtue and a gift. Her book is an inspiration to any of us who are troubled by what makes us different, but who take the small yet crucial steps to express it and make something of it. This call to courage is Elli’s most far reaching contribution. We are not just Liberal Jews, but liberating Jews… I found reading this book a lesson in generosity of spirit and, that much neglected sole trait, awe.’
Lucian J Hudson, LJ Today
‘Tikvah Sarah displays a deep-seated passion for learning. This is fused with an equally energetic desire to see learning as the basis for community building… In its pages the reader acquires the tools by which to see the communal, political, religious, social and personal issues that challenge us on a daily basis and paradoxically, to affirm difference in unity at the same time. Troubling the status quo never seems so Judaically normal.’
Winston Pickett, Sussex Jewish News