I hadn’t realized what an impact Judith had on me until I unexpectedly read of her sudden passing. I met Judith about a decade after her ordination. It was the middle-ish ’90’s and there were less than 300 female rabbis in the world at that time. Her talmud teaching showed an amazing soul on fire. I had to talk to her more…I think I asked her if she might join me for a coffee and instead she took me for a beer. That was a lot of years ago.
I hadn’t realized to what extent she was a role model for me- smart, funny, thought-provoking, wonderfully off-beat-ish and, from my perspective, unafraid. Amazing. Engaging. I miss her.
This Shabbat we’ll remember Rabbi Judith during our “Food for Thought” as we consider Women of the Talmud (an area of her scholarship). Please join us at 6:30 pm in Freo. Just contact me for details.
About Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams: Talmud Students Mourn Passing Great Sage
Rabbi J.Z. Abrams passed on 22 Oct, 2014 at 56 years of age dying of a heart attack. Rabbi Abrams, a devoted scholar and teacher, authoring over 20 books is well known for leading a non-profit effort called Maqom dedicated to teaching Talmud to students of all ages and levels (maqom.com). Students were inspired by the rabbi’s passion, charisma and extraordinary ability to say things in an intelligent articulate manner which was both down-to-earth and amazingly insightful.
Rabbi Abrams was a brilliant scholar and witty intellect who lived by her values and greeted every moment with intention. Her most recent book, The Other Talmud: The Yerushalmi (Jewish Lights, 2014), expands the range of her scholarly and accessible works on Talmud which open the sacred study to learners of all levels. Her “seminal” work on The Women of the Talmud (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1995) brought the teachings Bruriah, Immah Shalom and Rachel (married to R. Akiva) from dark forgotten corners of Talmud, highlighting women’s wisdom embedded in our ancient sources.
Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams was truly a shining light, all the more so as she was amongst the first 150 women in the world ordained as rabbi. She is survived by her husband and three children.