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6 Jewish News In every generation by rabbi bonnie koppell Deborah is one of seven women whom the tradition names as a neviah prophetess. Leadership during the period of the Judges arose organically by acclamation of the people. Deborah was the fth of these judges she presided over 40 years of peace. In addition to adjudicating disputes from her oce under a tree Deborah was sought out as a military leader. The Israelites were plagued by attacks and the great general of the day Barak refused to go to battle without her. Deborah brought together a coalition of 10000 troops and victory was achieved supported by the actions of Yael whose role Deborah celebrates in her famous song. In an age when self-esteem is still a challenge for many women how inspiring it is to read Deborahs honest assessment of the challenging security environment as she sings in her famous song Until I arose a mother in Israel Judges 57. Wisdom strength condence These are Deborahs legacy. The Talmud is dominated by the teachings of men with rare and notable exceptions. Beruriah is one of these. The daughter of one famous rabbi and the wife of another Beruriah is recognized as a scholar in her own right. In Pesachim 62b we read of her amazing feat of learning 300 laws from 300 teachers in one day She is touted as an F rom the earliest partnership of Abraham and Sarah the Jewish community has been blessed by strong women leaders. In every generation women have provided examples of wisdom courage and compassion. As we celebrate the accomplishments of women in our own community we are humbled by the role models who have provided the foundation on which we stand. example to those who would wish to accelerate their own studies. When her husband Rabbi Meir prayed for the demise of some hooligans plaguing their neighborhood Beruriah reminded him that it is not the death of sinners that we seek but rather that they should cease from sin Brachot 10a. She chides Rabbi Yossi when he asks her for directions pointing out that he could have asked the same question in fewer words and upheld the rabbinic principle not to overly engage in conversation with women Eruvin 53b. When their sons die it is Beruriah who nds a gentle way to inform her husband appealing to his sense of honor that she must return to the owner a treasure that had been given to her to guard. Only then does she show him the bodies of their beloved children. Scholarship compassion keen feminist wit These are the legacy of Beruriah. Moving through history it was not uncommon for women to support their families through various business enterprises allowing their husbands to focus on prayer and learning. Gluckel born in Hamburg Germany in 1646 left a unique memoir that oers insight into the lives of women in her generation. She was married to Chayim at the age of 14 and gave birth to 14 children during their 30-year marriage. An active partner in managing the family jewelry business Gluckel was involved in every aspect of the work while simultaneously running her household and ensuring appropriate matches for the children. When Chayim passed away in 1689 eight of the children were still unmarried. Gluckel carried on undertaking travel far and wide in order to care for her family. Her memoir includes heartfelt prayers that her children be pious and studious. Unfortunately Gluckel lost everything at the hands of her second husband. Gluckel processed her feelings through a now-famous diary detailing her own spiritual journey the history of her family and community rabbi koppell.indd 6 12216 1037 AM