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Daughters of the King
Since I was a little girl I have always been curious why Jewish women have to pray separately from men. Having to look down while the men read and carried the Torah around the temple often made me feel like an external presence in this spiritual experience.
Why are women not allowed among men and why they are not to touch the Torah with their bare hands? Why are they to braid the Challah and why are they the ones who have to light the candles on Shabbat, but they cannot be more involved in the tradition of Jewish learning?
For years I left those questions unanswered. I rebelled against my Jewish roots because I feared the answers I was going to get were never going to convince me that it was right for women to be considered different than men.
Having moved to Brooklyn, where every other person I meet is an Orthodox Jew, I felt compelled to explore the Jewish woman’s identity further. And what better way to do so than by getting to know orthodox Jewish women, share their stories of spiritual growth and photograph them?
From this came the idea of a long-time photography project on the Bat Melech, the women of God, the ones “who bare the children of the Torah,” the pillars of the Jewish traditions.
These three months of work, digging into the tradition of such Jewish women, spending time with them in their homes, praying with them, and getting closer to their spiritual beauty, has lead me to understand that there is nothing inferior about being a woman in the Jewish faith.
Federica was born in Rome, Italy in 1983, but spent most of her adult life between Boulder, Co. and Washington, D.C. where she pursued her education. Since 2009, Federica has been the foreign correspondent for Shalom, a Jewish Italian magazine based in Rome and an active, touring staff photographer for the Professional Beach Volleyball Tour (AVP.com).
Her breaking-news freelance work (photos and articles) has appeared in a number of Italian newspapers (La Repubblica, La Gazzetta dello Sport and La Stampa), magazines (Panorama and L’Espresso) and press photo agencies (Ansa, Iber Press and Cubo Images) abroad. When she is not on shooting assignment, or at her desk editing pictures, she can be found teaching Power Vinyasa Yoga classes in Brooklyn or training for the 2010 New York City marathon.