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Aviva Cayam

Aviva Cayam received a doctorate from the Wurzweiler School of Social Work in New York and undergraduate degrees from Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland College of Jewish Studies. Her article “Fringe Benefits: Women and Tzitzit” was published in Jewish Legal Writings by Women, and she has written for Hadassah Magazine and The Jerusalem Report. She works as a therapist and teacher in Jerusalem.

Articles by this author

Nature of Women

The Talmud describes women as a “nation unto themselves” (BT Shabbat 62a) and rabbinic literature is replete with implications concerning the differences in the respective natures of men and women. Often the portrayals are paradoxical, citing opinions which describe seemingly opposite traits.

Leadership and Authority

All early biblical leaders of the Jewish people were elected by God. The matriarchs and patriarchs, priests, prophets, kings, judges and warriors were chosen by divine plan to lead the nation at different points in its history. The Torah she-bi-khetav: Lit. "the written Torah." The Bible; the Pentateuch; Tanakh (the Pentateuch, Prophets and Hagiographia)Torah offers us glimpses into the relationships between Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, Rachel, Leah and Jacob, based on the principle that ma’aseh avot siman le-banim (the deeds of the ancestors serve as a model for the descendents). Beyond the biblical text, the influence of matriarchal faith and insight is conveyed in the midrashic literature which expands the role of wife, helper and mother to include prophetess, teacher and visionary. Yet it is clear from the biblical narrative that females did not serve in the broader leadership roles filled by males.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Aviva Cayam." (Viewed on December 11, 2019) <https://qa.jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/cayam-aviva>.

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