This book presents, from the perspective of feminist jurisprudence and feminist and liberal bioethics, a complete study of Jewish law (halakhah) on contemporary reproductive issues such as birth control, abortion and assisted fertility. Irshai examines these issues to probe gender-based values that underlie the interpretations and determinations reached by modern practitioners of halakhah. Her primary goal is to tell, through common halakhic tools, a different halakhic story, one that takes account of the female narrative and its missing perspective.
“Irshai demonstrates again and again that many of the conclusions reached by recent decisors are not the inevitable outcome of their source materials. She ends, however, on a hopeful note, one that stresses the importance of this work and others like it, particularly for ‘women who feel committed to halakhic discourse but also to the values of equality.”
“This book is a first class pioneering effort in what may eventually become a critical area of research for students of Jewish law—uncovering the extent to which unstated gender assumptions have informed halakhic process over the generations.”