Scholars, artists and activists exploring the experience of Jewish women will be the topic of a conference co-sponsored by the Westchester Region of Hadassah and Sarah Lawrence College, to be held on Saturday October, 17 and Sunday, October 18 on the College's Bronxville campus.
Participants, spanning at least three generations, will listen to plenary lectures and join in smaller discussion groups that follow the three themes of the conference. "Past and Present" will explore Jewish women's experiences over time. In "Spirituality and Identity" participants will examine how and where contemporary Jewish women find inner serenity, and in "Word and Image" participants will look at the work of Jewish women who are artists and writers.
"Jewish women now live at a special moment in time, a moment when women from different backgrounds and at very different stages in their lifecycles are passionately involved in the same issues," said Deborah Hertz, a member of the History faculty at Sarah Lawrence and academic director for the conference. "We all wonder how Judaism will evolve to create more space for women. We all wonder how to create a balance between separate lives as Jews and the wider challenges of living in a diverse society. We all wonder how a deeper knowledge of our heritage will make us stronger," she said.
A highlight of the conference will be a Yiddish Cabaret, directed by Shirley Kaplan, award-winning director and playwright and head of the Theatre program at Sarah Lawrence. Plenary speakers include Deborah Dash Moore, professor of Religion at Vassar College, whose talk will address the topic: "Jewish Women in America: Looking Back, Looking Forward" and Alicia Ostriker of Rutgers University whose topic will be "The Nakedness of the Fathers: Women's Midrash and Women's Spirituality."
The conference is the third cosponsored by Hadassah and Sarah Lawrence College and will feature 25 speakers in a variety of program formats. In addition, several of the speakers will use the conference to showcase the work of young women in their fields in a group of lunch conversations called "New Generations."
The Westchester Region of Hadassah is a chapter of the largest women's Zionist organization in the world. Hadassah has worked for decades to offer health care, education and youth services in Israel. In the United States, Hadassah has become a powerful advocacy organization concerned with women' issues, health care, the environment and Jewish and Zionist education.
The Sarah Lawrence Center for Continuing Education, co-sponsor of the conference, offers adults the opportunity to study at one of the nation's leading liberal arts colleges. Since 1962, adults have come to the Center to earn baccalaureates, to prepare for graduate school and/or to find a new career direction. The Center also offers non-credit programs in writing, the liberal arts and cross-cultural exchange.
The conference is open to the public. The cost will be $45 for the combined Saturday evening Yiddish Cabaret and Sunday conference program ($15 for students); $10 for the Cabaret alone and $40 for the Sunday program. For registration information, including a full schedule of workshops, please call (914) 937-3151.