Empowerment, Not Police: What Are We to Do with Problematic Liturgical Passages?

Dalia Marx


This essay was first published in Lawerence Hoffman (ed.), Naming God: Avinu Malkeinu—Our Father, Our King. Nashville, Tennessee: Jewish Lights Publishing, 2015.

From the description of the book: “One of the oldest and most beloved prayers—known even to Jews who rarely attend synagogue—is Avinu Malkeinu (“Our Father, Our King”), a liturgical staple for the entire High Holy Day period. “Our Father, Our King” has resonance also for Christians, whose Lord’s Prayer begins “Our Father.” Despite its popularity, Avinu Malkeinu causes great debate because of the difficulties in thinking of God as father and king. Americans no longer relate positively to images of royalty; victims of parental abuse note the problem of assuming a benevolent father; and feminists have long objected to masculine language for God.”

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