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Judith Plaskow

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Judith Plaskow (born March 14, 1947) is an American theologian, author, and activist known for being the first Jewish feminist theologian. After earning her doctorate at Yale University, she taught at Manhattan College for thirty-two years before becoming a professor emeritus. She was one of the creators of the Journal for Feminist Studies in Religion and was its editor for the first ten years. She also helped to create B'not Esh, a Jewish feminist group that heavily inspired her writing, and a feminist section of the American Academy of Religion, an organization that she was president of in 1998.Plaskow's work has been critical in developing Jewish feminist theology. Her most significant work, Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective, argued that the absence of female perspectives in Jewish history has had a negative impact on the religion and she urged Jewish feminists to reclaim their place in the Torah and in Jewish thought. It is one of the first Jewish feminist theological texts ever written and is considered by some to be one of the most important Jewish texts of the 20th century.Her essay "The Coming of Lilith" was critical in re-imagining Lilith as a positive figure for women instead of a dangerous demon. Plaskow imagines Lilith as a woman who was wrongly punished for desiring her rightful equality to Adam. Once Eve seeks Lilith out, they join together in sisterhood to build a better world. Since "The Coming of Lilith," Lilith has become an important figure to Jewish feminists and became the namesake of the Jewish feminist magazine Lilith. From a young age, she viewed ethics and activism as integral to Judaism, which influenced her contributions to feminist ethics. She came out as a lesbian in the 1980s and though sexuality was always a focus of hers, her article in "Twice Blessed: On Being Lesbian or Gay and Jewish," was her most formal and popular discussion of being a Jewish lesbian.
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