NOV 2014: HOPE INTO PRACTICE wins First Place in the “Social Change” Category, 2014 USA Best Book Awards
What will make it irresistible for Jewish women to free ourselves of internalized anti-Semitism, expanding our sense of possibility? Hope into Practice responds with a rare blend of healing stories, fascinating history, and a fairminded perspective on Israel-Palestine–asking us to love ourselves enough to face our fears without acting on them. Anchored in Jewish ethical tradition and community, it’s an activist’s call to repair the world. AND it includes an action-oriented Reader’s Guide, for groups or individuals!
PRAISE for Hope into Practice
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“Rosenwasser knows her audience. I felt that she was writing to me and my cohort of young adult, Jewish female community organizers and activists trying to live a principled life in a world rife with contradictions …[The book’s] pages are saturated with Rosenwasser’s brilliant thinking and unwavering love for the Jewish people. There are several sentences within each chapter that so stunningly dismantle internalized anti-Semitism that, in an instant, long-time confusions I’ve carried about myself as a woman and as a Jew were squashed. I was brought to tears more than once…Hope into Practice is an absolutely inspiring call to action. Because, if not together, how?”
“When I first read the Table of Contents, I was surprised to feel tears arise: tears of need, hunger, yearning, promise. Penny’s book is filled with wild, truthful, and exuberant voices, you can feel their spirits in their words.”
“A wonderful, gutsy, and inspiring book. Penny Rosenwasser takes on the most explosive issues in American Jewish life today—racism and anti-Semitism, victimization and privilege, and Jewish politics around Israel and Palestine–and she does it with a generosity of spirit and a clear head. A vision of a progressive Jewishness for a multicultural 21st century comes through proud and clear.”
“Hope into Practice…is a book for everyone, even recovering Catholics …Hope floats throughout this book and the question, ‘What could Jewishness be without suffering or victimhood?’ is asked in joy not shame. It is a question for all faith traditions.”
“The beauty of this book lies in its insistence that our healing is never separate from our politics. How we treat others is inherently linked to how we treat ourselves, and when we harm others, we cause harm to ourselves.”
“The book is brilliant, and is written in the great humanistic spirit of good anthropology.”
“Fills a gap in the Jewish studies scholarship…Based on the bold assumption that communal and individual healing is integral to justice work, Rosenwasser’s multi-disciplinary work is at once a memoir, a Jewish feminist treatise, and an activist guide. Written from a poignant, personal perspective, Hope into Practice allows readers to reflect on their own struggles with Jewish identity, queerness, and ethical commitment in order to imagine a better future. A must-read for all Jewish feminists!”
“The Jewish women you’ll meet in this book will inspire you, make you laugh, and challenge you to be more fierce. This is a book about liberation from our narrow places and the power to change the world. No matter who you are, you’ll learn something new about being human.”
“A teaching story for all of us.”
“A powerful tool for today’s Jewish organizers and activists. Rosenwasser challenges us to ask what Jewishness could be without suffering or victimhood—questions asked with joy, not shame. Hope Into Practice acknowledges that we cannot wait to heal all our wounds before we can act—but cannot wait until our movements are successful before we turn to our healing.”
“I cried through the whole first part, torn open by the known and unknown histories Rosenwasser exposes. As I continued reading, I was intermittently frozen with tears, nodding and saying yes, and turning to whoever was in the room with me to read paragraphs out loud…I long for Rosenwasser’s discussion of cycles of trauma to be present in mainstream Jewish institutions and community…Jewish women’s lives are the heart of this book…The questions she asks, the possibilities for healing that she offers, and the invitation to engage deeply with our whole selves is a galvanizing opportunity that I hope my community of Jewish women does not miss.”
“A stunningly well-researched history of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust…Book and author alike are…well-informed and impressively well-read.”
“Beginning with Chapter 10, ‘Taking Egypt Out of the Jews,’ she writes fifty pages of excellent political analysis that I recommend to anyone and everyone. Rosenwasser understands the intersections of class, power, and economics… Penny Rosenwasser is a smart and thorough writer…”
“The history of anti-Semitism is fascinating. Many personal stories of Jewish women are genuinely instructive and revealing…The writing is both poignant and personal and always to the point.”
Excerpts of 5-star reviews on Amazon
“Hope Into Practice: A How-To for Opening Hearts and Minds
Without feeling preached to, I learned new lessons in self-awareness, self-actualization, and activism, and gained a new “Jewish-positive” attitude…I think the book should be required reading for Jewish Studies and Women’s Studies courses…I recommend a slow, meditative reading, allowing the carefully chosen language to penetrate the heart, for Jews as well as gentiles, and for women as well as men and people of all genders, for anyone with a mind willing to be opened just a bit more by Penny Rosenwasser’s generous spirit.”
“You don’t have to be Jewish to read Hope into Practice.
Penny Rosenwasser’s book is beautifully written and an exhilarating read… Rosenwasser’s book gives me hope. It rekindled my spirituality, connection to community, and call to action…Rosenwasser quotes an activist who said, “There’s a new Jewish identity, one that is multigenerational, multiethnic, multisexual, a united front against bigotry and xenophobic nationalism, and for all forms of equality.” I can relate to that! …So whether or not you are Jewish, or religious, or a woman, many of the ideas in this brilliant book will resonate and inspire.”
“A timely, well written, enjoyable and profound book
I loved this book. It is so well written, with a big heart, deep analysis and a path for action. Timely and important information for all citizens of the world…Highly highly highly recommended.”
“A must read for everyone who longs for Peace with Justice
I found this book truly inspiring, enlightening to me as a Gentile woman. The hope and joy that shone through gave my great hope for the future. The sharing of the realities of the generational pain carried by Jewish women humbled me but also explained why Israel is so governed by fear…Reading this book was a very moving experience and I will be recommending it to others.”
“Essential Reading For Jewish Feminists Working For Peace In The Middle East!
…I really can’t recommend it enough…In this book, Rosenwasser makes the crucial point that Jewish liberation is interconnected with the liberation of all oppressed people, whether they are African-American, undocumented immigrants, queer or transgender, homeless, or Palestinian. Like Marc Ellis and Judith Plaskow, Rosenwasser proves that the prophetic Jewish voice is still alive. Emphasizing the importance for Jewish activists to heal ourselves of internalized anti-Semitism as we simultaneously work to transform unjust systems…,this book demands that we love ourselves enough to confront our fears without allowing them to control us.”
Other Books by Penny Rosenwasser
Focusing on a tense and volatile region leading up to the Madrid Peace Conference in the fall of 1991, these interviews offer a human perspective on Israel/Palestine. They give an insider’s view of the first intifada, the Israeli peace camp, and the Palestinian and Israeli women’s peace movements, up to and after the Gulf War.
For too long, women’s agendas for social change have been split into two seemingly opposite arenas — personal transformation and political activism. This collection of interviews, in examining the base of women’s power, breaks down that dichotomy.