Yarmulkes aren’t just for men. From the classic doily to pink suede, Aurora Mendelsohn examines religious head coverings for women — and the messages they send.
Partnership minyanim offer Orthodox women a leading role. Aurora Mendelsohn explores why rabbis are pushing back against these new egalitarian forms of prayer.
Observant career women face a special challenge in balancing work with the demands of home. Unfortunately, Judaism has not yet lightened the burden on them.
As a rule, my husband and I don’t pray in non-egalitarian settings (or, at the very least, in ones that don’t count women in a minyan). So while I have been following the progress of partnership minyanim with respect and interest for a number of years, I hadn’t participated in one on a Shabbat morning until recently, when I attended the bar mitzvah of a friends’ son.
Like “Big Bang Theory” actress Mayim Bialik, I am an observant Jew, and had my first child while completing my Ph.D. (Mine was in experimental psychology; the actress’ was in neuroscience.) And like Bialik, I endorse and practice many aspects of ‘attachment parenting’: breastfeeding and late weaning, baby-wearing (using a sling), bed-sharing and positive discipline. So I thought I’d be a big fan of her new parenting book, “Beyond the Sling.”
Jewish day school is expensive and the cost is beyond the reach of many families. The solution could be income-based tuition fees, argues Aurora Mendelsohn.
The African-American spiritual “Go Down Moses” is a staple of contemporary Haggadot. Aurora Mendelsohn plumbs the history and lyrics of the song — once a rallying cry for escaped slaves.
Last month, our Jay Michaelson, in a column titled “Religion is Actually Spirituality,” argued that “even the most diehard, hyper-rational, Lithuanian Orthodox, High Reform, or otherwise non- or anti-spiritual religionists perform religious acts because they want to feel a certain way. In other words, religion is a form of spirituality.” Michaelson’s take on the relationship between religion and spirituality drew spirited retorts from readers Aurora Mendelsohn, a Toronto biostatistician, and Alan Krinsky, a monthly columnist for the Jewish Voice & Herald in Providence, R.I. Their critiques are published below, as is Michaelson’s response.
At the first Seder my husband and I hosted in 1999, we eagerly incorporated two feminist rituals we had seen in the Ma’yan Passover Haggadah. We placed a Miriam’s Cup (a wedding gift from several years beforehand) on our Seder table and an orange on our Seder plate. Our mothers cheered.
On a Friday night at my shul, the children gathered to hear the rabbi tell an after-dinner story. His engaging style had them riveted to the tale of a bubbe who teaches her little grandson all about how faith and song magically hid her in the shtetl from the Cossacks.