Mara H. Benjamin contends that the physical and psychological work of caring for children presents theologically fruitful but largely unexplored terrain for feminists. Attending to the constant, concrete, and urgent needs of children, she argues, necessitates engaging with profound questions concerning the responsible use of power in unequal relationships, the transformative influence of love, human fragility and vulnerability, and the embeddedness of self in relationships and obligations. Viewing child-rearing as an embodied practice, Benjamin’s theological reflection invites a profound reengagement with Jewish sources from the Talmud to modern Jewish philosophy. Her contemporary feminist stance forges a convergence between Jewish theological anthropology and the demands of parental caregiving.
“It is rare to find an academic text that is so creative, honest, and thoughtful, and uniquely contributes to multiple fields of inquiry—in this case, Jewish theology, feminist theory, and parenting. Bringing together a wide variety of resources in an artful display of academic research that is both intellectually stimulating and personally vulnerable, readers will find Benjamin’s offering to be a continued reservoir for reflecting on what unites humanity perhaps more universally than anything else: that we have all been parented and most of us will also, at some point, embark on the risky, adventurous, deeply enriching journey of parenting.”