In Kohelet it says, “For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Now quite why the writer of Kohelet wants to be joined to a living dog is a question for animal lovers and biblical exegetes, but maybe the author’s motivation has to do with the prophesied outcome of being chained to a mutt.
Imagine you leave work one semester as a man but when you return to the classroom a few semesters later you are a woman. Imagine trying to smile through this gender transition if you teach at a conservative religious institution where gender roles are clearly delineated. And, just for kicks, imagine what your second day would be like if your first day back at work at Yeshiva University Stern College for Women was heralded on the front page of the New York Daily Post with the headline, “Ye-She-Va.” Instead of imagining, you could read Joy Ladin’s dignified testimony. “I am surrounded by love,” she writes. And she means it.