(JTA) – Stepping into the lobby of the West Hollywood medical marijuana dispensary where Dina Browner serves up buds to movie stars, it’s hard to miss the name Snoop Lion splashed across a hydroponic grow box painted red, green and gold.
Two women ordained as Orthodox rabbis this week will be entitled “rabba,” the female form of “rabbi.” They will be joining the only woman who had the title until now, Sara Hurwitz of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale’s synagogue in the Bronx.
I don’t really follow the peregrinations of reality star Kim Kardashian, but the fact that she’s expecting her second child with music mogul Kanye West is only of note to people like me because she announced she’d achieved pregnancy through I.V.F.
Though appalled, I laughed when I first heard about Rabbi Barry Freundel. How he hid cameras in the mikveh to watch his congregants and conversion protégés undress and prepare for ritual immersion. The image that came to my mind was that of the boy in my third grade class who tried to peek up my skirt. How puerile, I thought. And then there’s the newly reported matter of Rabbi Jonathan Rosenblatt and his habit of inviting young men to play racquetball and then join him in the sauna, naked, in order to conduct “sichot nefesh,” the serious discussion about matters of the heart. A bit creepy, no?
It’s one thing for religious fundamentalist leaders – whether Jewish, Muslim, or Christian – to preach that limiting the freedom and independence of women is acceptable in the name of preserving traditional values, and for women in their communities to voluntarily submit to such restrictions.