Culture, Religion, Sex & Gender

Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, z"l

Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, the groundbreaking feminist Bible scholar, died today after a long battle with cancer.
Her official University of Chicago biography is below:

Tikva Frymer-Kensky’s areas of specialization include Assyriology and Sumerology, biblical studies, Jewish studies, and women and religion. Her most recent books are Reading the Women of the Bible, which received a Koret Jewish Book Award in 2002 and a National Jewish Book Award in 2003; In the Wake of the Goddesses: Women, Culture and the Biblical Transformation of Pagan Myth; and Motherprayer: The Pregnant Woman’s Spiritual Companion. She is also the English translator of From Jerusalem to the Edge of Heaven by Ari Elon (Alma Dee, original Hebrew).

10 thoughts on “Dr. Tikva Frymer-Kensky, z"l

  1. Tikva Frymer-Kensky was my rebbetzin. She was much beloved in our community. I am sharing this information from the synagogue in case anyone would like to give tzedakah.
    The family has suggested that tzedakah given in memory of Tikva be given to the following funds or to the charity of your choice:
    The Tikva Frymer-Kensky Adult Education Fund
    Beth Hillel Congregation Bnai Emunah
    3220 Big Tree Lane
    Wilmette, IL 60091
    The Kensky Family Grove
    The Jewish National Fund
    60 Revere Drive, Suite 960
    Northbrook, IL 60062
    Scholarship Fund
    University of Chicago Divinity School
    1025 East 58th Street
    Chicago, IL 60637

  2. I had the bracha to be Tikve’s student, back at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, when she was the chair of the biblical year program. Tikve, who we once dubbed the red-hot Mesopotamian Momma, was a wondorous teacher. She gathered us on the back porch of her suburban Philly home and told us the Gilgamesh Epic, translating Sumerian terms in a sing-song. Her most notorious moment came when she asked us to draw the outline of an uncurcumsized penis on the chalkboard so that she could make a point about the religious significance of curves. She taught us to see YHVH as a synthesis of goddess and god, not in kabbalsitic terms, but in historic ones. A brilliant scholar and a first-rate teacher is mourned today. May all those who mourn find comfort.

  3. I’ve known Tikva my whole life, and as sad as I am that her life had to be comparatively short with what people expect nowadays, I am amazed at how much she accomplished in her life. She became, very clearly, a master of the subjects she intended to study and illuminate to the world. To be honest, though, she was a much-loved mother and wife, and leaves behind a stellar family who were blessed with having her.

  4. I was lucky enough to be Tikva’s student from 2004-5, and to work with her on my senior (undergrad) thesis. She managed to be simultaneously brilliant, nurturing, and dedicated to scholarship and teaching both: a woman who would come to class from the hospital to help us review for a Biblical Law exam by sharing mnemonic songs about the kings of Ur that she’d made up for her graduate exams (no, I’m not exaggerating). She was an inspiration to work with, a pleasure to nosh and chat with, and someone who challenged this particular student every single day – in the best way possible. Barukh dayan ha’emet indeed.

  5. Tikva was a colleague and a friend. She was most generous with her time and her company. From Ann Arbor to New York and Philadelphia, then ultimately Wilmette, I managed to stay in contact with her. Everthing that I published was improved greatly by her reading and suggestions. I will surely miss her. She was a wise sister in my life.

  6. I had the privilege of studying the Book of Amos with Tikva Frymer-Kensky at a UAHC Kallah in 1998. May you all be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.