Dancing In The Footsteps of Eve is a multi-layered odyssey of transformation, moving to a feminine beat. The kabbalistic Four Worlds, Intuition, Intellect, Emotion and Action animate the Mystic, Student, Dreamer and Humanitarian within. Their interaction reveals an evolving image of Divinity, constantly present and continually changing, timeless and timely. Beneath the literal surface of Jewish texts, the Sacred Feminine moves elusively in and out of awareness, revealing and concealing clues to our past and future. As children of Israel we reach for the shimmer of the promised land, our own spiritual maturity. Symbolic of our innate curiosity, Eve now reaches for the forbidden fruit again, next step in the journey to consciousness, reconciliation and compassionate connection for the evolving human family. Eve— hero or villain? You decide . . if you dare!
Through mysticism and mythology, this book offers an original perspective for those interested in a mythic and mystical approach to Judaism and to women of diverse spiritual and religious communities, who, awakening in consciousness, seek authenticity in the feminine experience.
REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Heather Mendel is a Rabbi and mystic, and her book is written from a Jewish perspective and seeks to explore the Sacred Feminism through the myths and mysticism of Judaism, citing the interplay of the Four Worlds of Jewish Kabbalism.
Although I think the author is writing primarily for those unsure of trusting in or even being aware of the importance of the healing powers of the divine feminine, I certainly learned a lot from aspects of a Jewish mindset, about which I knew nothing. If a book is the exploration of a set of theories then this book sets out in a clear and readable form the groundwork in a general sense. It is complemented by the third book. ~ Inner light, Volume 34. No 3
Interesting, compelling, and thought provoking
This book is timely as in the last few weeks in the media, I have seen several different articles about efforts to empower women--(Maria Shriver, Hillary Clinton, and Oprah). When women are empowered, they put their efforts into children and the future and from there into their community and society as a whole. Men put their efforts into safety and growth. As a society, we need both influences. Like a surfer, Heather Mendel is "catching the wave."
As a non-Jew, I found it informative as well as interesting to learn about some of the practices within the Jewish religion; there is a compelling story for others who are non-Jews. ~ Paddy Doron
I love it. This book should be required reading for any Introduction to Judaism class. There's so much more too it than the title implies, though the rebbetzin does a great job expounding on her idea of the Sacred Feminine. ~ Jon Erik Storm
Revisioning Eve: Curiosity as a gift
In our western tradition, Eve is the mother of us all, and has been blamed for everything mothers get blamed for, plus a good deal more. But does this usual view of Eve sour our view of women and ultimately our view of ourselves, whether men or women, because we are all born from women? What if the Biblical Eve's curiosity were seen in a wholly different light - not as evil, but rather as the natural, God given quality and agent of advancement of human intelligence and understanding? Isn't it curiosity and the pursuit of possibility that lead us to explore our world and that drive scientific inquiry? Exploration leads to technological advances and greater understanding of ourselves as intelligent physical and social beings, and lays the groundwork on which we can develop a healthier society. America was founded on the dream of possibility, of forming a society free from all tyranny. The natural spirit of curiosity and positive engagement with the world can be seen as a response to a divine call, for both women and men.
It is this positive engagement with the world that Heather Mendel explores in Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve. She gives an introduction to Jewish scriptures that makes them accessible to Jews and non Jews alike. She looks at the early writings through lenses of history, myth, culture and practical application.
Mendel applies left and right brain, mind and heart to wrestling with the all important questions of who or what is God and what is our true nature as men and women, being made in the image of God. Christians and Jews, and those of any or no religious persuasion who would like to start from a healthy and positive concept of the human being can relate to this well researched and heartfelt "Yes" to our common scriptural roots. ~ Kathy Bornino
Welcome back, Eve.
I can't think of anything more necessary in today's world than the kind of thinking Heather Mendel does in her new book, Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve. With deep respect for her sources, Mendel leaves behind literalist assumptions and explores deeper and broader interpretations of basic concepts in our sacred texts. Surely Western civilization has matured enough to move beyond blaming its mother. Join Heather Mendel in welcoming Eve back to her rightful place of honor in our mythos. ~ Eve Neuhaus
A stunning book about feminine spirituality, Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve throws open the doors that have held women captive in hierarchical, patriarchal, religious traditions. Perhaps it's time to safely put away the shameful Eve once and for all. This is a highly researched and brilliantly written book which proposes that we all accept a healing gift to the world through inclusivity rather than exclusivity. Thank Goddess for Heather Mendel! ~ Simone Viola
I have just finished reading Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve. I am thrilled and sadâ€” sad because I want more! What a delight to find another feminine spiritual being walking this path. You have pleased my mindâ€” new knowledge, wonderful research, new books to explore. I love the use of myth (your definition!) and thoroughly enjoy your writing style. I want more midrashim. I want more information about your Tree of Life. I want time to explore "I shall be that I shall be" and God as a verb. I want more information about Reform Judaism to find the answers to questions you have raised in mind and heart. Thank you for being a part of this time of Awakening ~ Joanne Atwood
An inspiring Spiritual Journey
Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve is a profound spiritual journey through mysticism, myth and intellect. Heather captivates the reader with her ability to weave a tapestry leading to discovering the power of the feminine aspect which has been diminished in the patriarchal world. For me, it brought back deep memories of ancient times where there was balance and harmony. I feel more inspired to explore and honor my own female nature and support the women and men in my life to do the same. Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve is truly a must-read book for all people seeking a deeper level of spiritual awareness. ~ Vishara Veda, author of The Joining...From the Silence Beyond Time
Through myths and an exploration of mystical Kabbalah and its four worlds - Intuition, Intellect, Emotion and Action - the author takes us on a journey to the Sacred Feminine and an evolving image of divinity that brings healing in times of fundamentalism or forgetting ~ Miriam Raven, Sage Woman
While written from a Jewish perspective, this book will appeal to a broad readership as literal assumptions about God are gently, yet firmly, replaced by a penetrating examination and interpretation of sacred texts. A gentle book, a learned book, a book written in both a scholarly and conversational tone, Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve may surprise you. It may challenge you. It may disturb you from a complacent and/or literal interpretation of scripture. Then, just when you think the book has ended, Mendel offers an unexpected gift to the reader in the Appendix: two midrashim (creative stories that flow from the gaps in the biblical text), as well as an imaginary tale based on Jewish feminist history. ~ June Maffin, BookPleasures.com
Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve is a beautifully written book about the return of a sense of divinity. Heather Mendel is especially sensitive to the spiritual needs of women. But the real contribution of this book is to offer an intelligent, intimate, and relevant idea of God in a time of confusion and forgetting. ~ Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul
"Dancing In The Footsteps of Eve" is a highly original book, an ambitious and creative undertaking. Heather Mendel's scholarship and knowledge of religious writings combine with her deeply felt reflections and enlightened consciousness to illuminate a remarkable personal journey by a woman steeped in Jewish tradition in search of the divine feminine. ~ Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and The Blade, Sacred Pleasure, and The Real Wealth of Nations
Wisdom in every culture is deemed to be feminine. The Book of Proverbs says it best. Surprise! Surprise! Wisdom is full of delight! Mendel proves this by making even her scholarly research a treat to read. She restores the role of the feminine in an earthy, practical way while at the same time honoring the masculine and intellectual genius of traditional Judaism. In this book the Tree of Life blossoms with joy. ~ Alice O. Howell, author of The Dove In the Stone: Finding the Sacred in the Commonplace
The return of the divine Motherâ€”Hochmah, Shechina, Sophiaâ€”heralds the transformation of the human spirit from competing religious tribes to shared explorations of divine consciousness. She comes to us and through us, and every once in a while there is that rare soul among us with the capacity to help awaken us to Her presence. Heather Mendel is one of these souls and Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve is one of these awakenings. This book is a delight. ~ Rabbi Rami Shapiro, author of The Divine Feminine
Autobiography, history, theology, midrash, kabbalah and, of course, feminism all seamlessly woven together into a wise and wonderful literary adventure. From ancient tradition to New Age, Heather Mendel sets a banquet table for the 21st century spiritual seeker. This is a beautiful book. ~ Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, the Emanu-El Scholar at Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco and author of the novel, Kabbalah: A Love Story, and sixteen books on Judaism, Kabbalah, and spirituality.
In this engaging, wide-ranging work, Heather Mendel draws on an astonishing number of sources in her effort to reconcile her deep-rooted Judaism with her vision of a post-patriarchal world in which her feminist convictions flourish. The result is an entrancing vision of an enlarged and revitalized tradition that honors the past in a creative engagement with the challenges of a contemporary world. In the best traditions of Judaism, the author seeks to rescue the holy from the limiting definitions in which we forever attempt to ensnare it. In the process, she offers us a God who does not need defending, a feminism that does not need to be rooted in anger and frustration in order to be vital, and a possible spiritual discipline that daily deepens our appreciation of the world and strengthens our resolve to serve it. ~ Rev. David Bumbaugh, Minister Emeritus, The Unitarian Church in Summit, NJ and Professor of Ministry, Meadville Lombard and author of The Education of God and Unitarian Universalism: A Narrative History
Heather Mendel's "dance" is an archaeology of hope, a vision of feminist values, of egalitarian life and of the interconnections between all beings and with the Earth. It is a re-memory of the Sacred Feminine in Jewish tradition, of an inclusive Divinity, one that is always coming into being. Heather Mendel interprets and celebrates the Sacred Feminine honoring "both our individual uniqueness and spectacular diversity." Although written over many years, "Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve" is a prescient meditation on our Oneness, as its publication coincides with the inauguration of President Barak Obama and the spirit of Oneness and community that has, at least at this moment, enveloped the world in a fusion of hope. ~ Bettina Aptheker, Professor, Feminist Studies/Jewish Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz and author of Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech and Became A Feminist Rebel.
With Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve, Heather Mendel joins the welcome chorus of feminist scholarship unearthing and reclaiming the Biblical tradition of the divine feminine. Yet, her candid and tender spiritual memoir is told within, and continually dialogues with, the wider context of her own faith community in Judaism. With an ear for both the needs of the beginning inquirer as well as the more theologically sophisticated scholar, Mendel guides us through a careful retrieving of these life-giving feminine threads in the patriarchal fabric of sacred text. Choosing not to discard the original damaged cloth, she guides us in the reweaving and strengthening of our concepts and experiences of the Holy. Her extensive research provides references for those who want to learn more and she offers experiential exercises for those yearning to engage the heart. This is accessible and engaging reading for Jews, Christians and seekers alike, and a helpful guide for both laypeople and clergy leaders in congregations. Mendel reminds us that the re-integration of the marginalized parts of both sacred tradition and self will bring great wholeness and healing to all humankind. ~ The Rev. Anne Swallow Gillis, MDiv, MSW, Protestant Minister and Pastoral Counselor
At this time in the evolution of the human family, Dancing in the Footsteps of Eve is a welcome teaching. It recalls the integrity of feminine wisdom and the innate knowledge that power with is always more effective than power over. This book is a needed reminder of both the revealed and concealed power of the divine feminine. ~ Beverly Engel, author of The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- and Start Standing Up for Yourself
The Torah teaches that Eveâ€™s name in Hebrew means â€œMother of all Living.â€ With her wonderful new book Heather Mendel reminds us that we, the living, are - all of us - still dancing in her footsteps. And what a dance it is. Sun and moon; bride and groom; kashrut and karma: chronos and kairos; ontogeny and phylogeny; the mythical and mystical; anima and animus; God and, of course, Goddess. Enjoy! ~ Rabbi Mark Sameth, author of God's Hidden Name Revealed (Reform Judaism) and Who is He? He is She, CCAR Journal