Thursday, January 18, 2007
Without reading about her, or seeing her picture, one knows that Temma Gentles is a Jewish Woman. One only need to look at the names of her work:
SHE is a tree of life
Parents and children
Those names represent about a third of the mantles posted on her site.
On her site, she shares this midrash from Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, someon who I met in passing during a period of my life when I considered entering the rabbinate. Her mother Terry was a director of NFTY, the reform youth movement when I was very involved.
From Rabbi Goldstein: If Judaism is like a tree, when the strong winds of feminist change blow on it, it will become up-rooted and die. If, however, Judaism is like the reeds and grasses, it will be able to sway and adapt to changes.
Gentles describes her Biblical Women (photos below): Lines of fine red ribbon running horizontally amid a few impressionistic grasses represent the winds of feminism. Into these are incorporated, in roughly chronological order, the names of 24 Biblical women, with Sarah ("the priest-ess", according to Savina Teubal's book) at the centre front where the breastplate sits.
The ornate piece which begins this post was award winning for Temma Gentles and Dorothy Ross. I am sure that many of us are continuing to applaud their work.