Vividly reimagined with startling contemporary clarity, Michal Lemberger’s debut collection of short stories gives voice to silent, oft-marginalized biblical women: their ambitions, their love for their children, their values, their tremendous struggles and challenges. Informed by Lemberger’s deep knowledge of the Bible, each of these nine stories story recasts a biblical saga from the perspective of a pivotal woman.


Click the image to the right to download the After Abel Readers’ Group Guide.

“Michal Lemberger is a wonderful writer—empathetic and heartbreaking, generous and fierce. The searing beauty of these stories is matched only by the passion and intelligence of the women who inhabit these pages. After Abel is a stunning book.”

Molly Antopol
Author of The UnAmericans

“Through intuition and art, Michal Lemberger opens our hearts to the powerful women of the Bible. They come alive in her magical prose, and their wisdom, long stifled and marginalized, echoes across the millennia to warm our hearts and to illumine our turbulent age. They teach us not only how to survive, but how to thrive.”

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson
Abner and Roslyn Goldstine Dean’s Chair of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University and author of God of Becoming and Relationship: The Dynamic Nature of Process Theology

“What struck me most about these stories is their clear, assured confidence—as if Michal Lemberger had pulled apart some of the lines in the old story, spied a new story tucked in there way off in a corner, shimmied in a fishhook and pulled it out. They make their cases very convincingly!”

Aimee Bender
Author of The Color Master and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

After Abel brings biblical women from the sidelines to the center of the story, in a compelling narrative reminiscent of Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. These beautifully written stories feel like meeting Eve, Lot’s wife, and many other compelling characters for the first time.”

Laurel Corona
Author of The Mapmaker’s Daughter and The Four Seasons: A Novel of Vivaldi’s Venice

“The Bible is predominantly a set of books by and about men, with women usually mentioned only peripherally. In After Abel Michal Lemberger portrays biblical women in a way that makes them come alive as real people, with perspectives, concerns, and emotions of their own. Her modern midrash is true to all the biblical stories but enhances them in a way that I never thought possible. This may not have been how these biblical women actually thought and felt, but it probably was!”

Rabbi Elliot Dorff
Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University and author of The Unfolding Tradition: Philosophies of Jewish Law

“This is such an unusual book–how shall we begin to think of women behind the stentorian voices of the men who rule the scriptures–to think of them cooking slaughtered animals and caring for the children, to think of them being instructed constantly about how to behave, to live, to obey …What [Michal Lemberger] gives us is an idea of what real women–women not unlike us–might have felt and thought in those times.”

Merrill Joan Gerber
author of The Hysterectomy Waltz and The Kingdom of Brooklyn

“Michal Lemberger in After Abel deepens our understanding of the stories we have heard many times and thought we knew. The women of the Bible come alive in all of their vulnerability and power. The stories in this book are a work of modern midrash–so necessary and so beautifully done. Bravo Michael Lemberger and may your stories inspire many more.”

Rabbi Susan Goldberg
Wilshire Boulevard Temple

“Michal Lemberger’s stories are marvelous compounds of scholarship, imagination and empathy. Brought to life with rich historical detail, these biblical women, sidelined and silenced for centuries, prove to be audacious, utterly relatable, and spellbinding companions.”

Michelle Huneven
Author of Blame and Off Course

“[Michal Lemberger’s] exercise in empathy is more than a literary conceit. . . . She has given [these biblical women] a new birth as figures of flesh and blood, heart and brain.”

Jonathan Kirsch
Jewish Journal book editor and author of The Harlot by the Side of the Road (from the foreword)

“Imaginative leaps, the stories in After Abel transport the reader into fully realized biblical landscapes where we discover the experiences of characters whose shadowy presence in Hebrew Scriptures inspire Lemberger’s creative speculation. Like the classical midrashist, Lemberger elaborates the spaces between the text’s choices, and by giving fullness of life to female presences merely hinted at in the Bible, Lemberger participates in the contemporary enterprise of bringing gender balance to the world of our mythic origins.”

Lori Lefkovitz
Ruderman Professor of Jewish Studies, Northeastern University

“These short stories about biblical women are moving, often ingenious, and even  gripping! Lemberger combines an insightful knowledge of biblical women and their stories with  an acute ability to more fully imagine their lives in ways that feel true to the biblical text.  She answers many of the questions readers have long wanted to know. What did Lot’s wife think about her husband’s plan to offer his daughters to the men of Sodom? What about Haman’s wife?  Lemberger writes extremely well with a touch of humor and plenty of compassion.  This is a great read and the perfect choice for book groups and sisterhoods of all sorts.”

Dr. Adriane Leveen
Senior Lecturer in the Hebrew Bible at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and author of Memory and Tradition in the Book of Numbers

“A gorgeous book of inspired reimaginings, full of heartbreak and courage and piercing beauty.”

Ben Loory
Author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

“With a delightful play of the imagination, Michal Lemberger has brought to life biblical characters and episodes that the Bible authors never dreamed of, while remaining gracefully faithful to the cultural ‘atmosphere’ of biblical times.”

Oscar Mandel
Author of Otherwise Fables

“The Hebrew Bible tells only the outline of most of its stories and over the centuries many have filled in the white spaces with their own notions of back stories and behind the scenes drama.  Yet rarely have those voices included those of women.  In Lemberger’s book, these blank spaces are filled in by the stories of women: brave, frightened, loving, and taking extreme measures to protect their children.  The women are real, their stories are heartbreaking, their courage undeniable.  After Abel and Other Stories is a truly welcome addition to understanding what the Bible could mean by looking at a side of the story rarely considered: the story of women.”

Tammi J. Schneider
Professor of Religion and Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at Claremont Graduate University, and author of An Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion

“After Abel is a gem. For readers who enjoy the Bible as literature and compelling storytelling, Michal Lemberger’s exploration of the biblical women who are mentioned but then left without their own narratives is welcome and deeply engaging.”

Susan Straight
Author of Between Heaven and Here and Highwire Moon

“Michal Lemberger liberates the voices that are trapped beneath the text. A reimagining of the biblical tales done with artistry and erudition.”

Rabbi David Wolpe
Rabbi of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles and author of Why Faith Matters

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