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The year as spiritual practice

Reclaiming Zuleikha

Some of you may remember that back in August I was part of a Retreat for Emerging Jewish and Muslim Leaders. I blogged very briefly from the retreat, and later wrote an essay about the experience, which was published at Zeek: Allah is the Light: Prayer in Ramadan and Elul.

The story we studied that week was the story of Joseph / Yusuf, as he appears in both the Torah (and later Jewish texts) and Qur'an (and later Muslim texts.) One of the most fascinating differences between "our" version of the story and "their" version of the story is the figure of Potiphar's wife, who in later tradition is known as Zuleikha.

One of my fellow retreatants asked me to contribute a brief reflection on Zuleikha as she appears (or doesn't appear) in Jewish text and tradition, for a four-voiced essay which would appear in AltMuslimah, an online magazine which "provides a space for compelling comment on gender in Islam from both the male and female, Muslim and non-Muslim, perspectives." (For more about AltMuslimah, you can read their mission statement and this introductory article.) That essay has now gone live. Here's how it begins:

In August, four scholars and a small group of Jewish and Muslim emerging religious leaders met to discuss the story of Joseph in the Qur’an and in the Bible. Here are four reflections, by two Muslim women and two Jewish women, about the significance of Zuleikha in the story and in their respective traditions...

Read the essay here: Zuleikha in the Qur'an and in the Bible.

All four contributors to the essay were participants in the retreat, and I'm honored that my voice appears alongside the voices of Asma T. Uddin, Homayra Ziad, and Marion Lev-Cohen. Thanks, Asma, for inviting me to be a part of this collaboration around our beloved, if sometimes challenging, shared story.