Life on the Fringes:

A Feminist Journey Towards Traditional Rabbinic Ordination

By Haviva Ner-David

Life on the fringes

Life on the Fringes is both memoir and scholarly treatise.

Life on the Fringes is both memoir and scholarly treatise. It is the story of a young girl coming into her own in the Orthodox Jewish world in which she grew up. Haviva Ner-David, who was the first woman to be publicly ordained by an Orthodox rabbi, was studying for her ordination when she wrote this book. She weaves, in a skillful and heartfelt way, personal stories and scenes from her life with Jewish legal texts relating to women and Judaism — thus posing the personal struggle against the classic rabbinic discussion, creating a dialogue between the two.

About the Author

Haviva Ner-David is a writer and rabbi. In 2006 she became the first woman to publicly receive Orthodox rabbinic ordination, only to leave Orthodoxy and call herself a post-denominational rabbi. Ten years later, she received interfaith ordination from the One Spirit Interfaith-Interspiritual Seminary and now goes by post-denominational inter-spiritual rabbi.

She writes both fiction and non-fiction and is the author of three spiritual journey memoirs, a novel, short stories, essays, a blog on Times of Israel, scholarly articles and a guidebook for engaged couples. Her short story, “Blame,” won the 2016 Lilith Magazine short fiction contest.
Link to short story.

Her rabbinic specialties are spiritual companionship, water immersion rituals, wedding and marriage preparation, coming of age ceremonies and other ritual and ceremony creation and innovation. Founding rabbi of Shmaya: A Mikveh for Mind, Body and Soul on Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee, she officiates and helps create on-site personalized immersion ritual ceremonies and facilitates group mikveh workshops. As a spiritual companion, she works with individuals and couples and specializes in dreamwork, inner child work and nature soul work, as well as general sacred listening.

Photo credit: Carmel Avivi

Other books by the author

Chanah’s Voice:
A Rabbi Wrestles with Gender, Commandment, and the Women’s Rituals of Baking, Bathing and Brightening

Hope Valley:
a Novel


Getting (and Staying) Married Jewishly:
Preparing for your Life Together with Ancient and Modern Wisdom

Dreaming Against The Current: A Rabbi’s Soul Journey

Yonah and the Mikveh Fish