Books

Lilith’s Ark Teenage Tales of Biblical Women

About the Book

For ages 12 and up (some mature subject matter)

An extraordinary collection of midrash written expressly for teenage girls.

Not long after the world was created, Lilith, the first woman, was expelled from the Garden of Eden. She built an ark, a magic box, in which future biblical women could hide their most prized possessions. And so, Lilith’s Ark became a place for women to share their own experiences of adolescence with future generations of girls…

The women of Torah grew up at a time when gender roles were rigidly defined and girls were considered women at an early age. Still, the Torah hints that young biblical women faced challenges similar to those that teenagers encounter today: first loves, burgeoning identities, developing sexualities, and blossoming spirituality. Building on textual sources, Deborah Bodin Cohen has created a collection of midrashim about the teen years of 10 women in Genesis that will resonate with 21st-century readers.

Lilith’s Ark melds text, biblical commentaries, and historic details about the ancient world with the experiences of modern girls and women and the author’s own imagination. A discussion guide for each story enriches the reading experience. This is a book that will speak across time to the anxieties and aspirations of today’s growing girls.

Awards

National Jewish Book Award Winner, 2006, Jewish Family Literature
Sydney Taylor Award, Notable Book
Notable Book for Teens (Association of Jewish Libraries), 2007

Praise

This beautifully written collection is useful for young women of varied religious affiliations and the adults who mentor them. It speaks of heroism and creative spirit in a way that is attractive and encouraging.
—Kliatt

Cohen’s book is thus ideally suited for book clubs, religious classes, mother-daughter Rosh Hodesh groups, or any other discussion forum.

—Lilith

A compilation of imaginative stories that provide new perspectives on the lives of the nine women in Genesis and on Eve’s midrashic precursor, Lilith . . . After all this time, Lilith’s Ark is giving voice to those ancient women who paid the price and reaped the benefits.

—Ottawa Jewish Bulletin

The midrashim are faithful in style and beautifully written, with enough poetry to lift them and enough common sense to keep them grounded.
—Deborah Stone

Lilith’s Ark: Teenage Tales of Biblical Women is an engaging and refreshing book filled with midrashic stories about the teenage years of ten biblical heroines. Recommended for all adolescents, Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen skillfully brings the reader into the inner world of these young women. The book is filled with teenage power and heroism.

—Mindy Shapiro, Director, Rosh Hodesh: It’s a Girl Thing! a program of Moving Traditions

Teen girls today especially need role models who have lasted for more than a single season. I am impressed by Deborah Bodin Cohen’s novel and original approach to biblical women. She portrays our female ancestors in their teen years: anguishing over relationships, rebelling against parental authority, searching for identity. This is a wonderful context in which women and girls can engage in meaningful dialogue around these crucial issues.

—Penina Adelman, author of Miriam’s Well, editor of the JPS book Praise Her Works, and co-author of The JGirl’s Guide: The Young Jewish Woman’s Handbook for Coming of Age

Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen

Book Reviews

Study Guides