As someone who spent over 20 years advocating for women’s leadership, I have a keen interest in seeing women gain religious authority.
When I witness the “Only Israel matters” approach to politics, I am reminded once again of how little women are valued in the Jewish community.
Elana Sztokman notes the absence of women from 2015 obituary pages worldwide and urges us to make sure women’s notable achievements are not forgotten.
In advance of Israel Independence Day, Elana Maryles Sztokman argues that the Zionist dream of Jewish autonomy and freedom in a national homeland is currently only realized by men.
Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv is revered by many as a great leader. But for women, his ideas and rulings were often the cause of enormous pain.
Despite my earlier post, it now appears that Rabbi Yizhak Silberstein did support the idea that a girl whose mother refused to buy her “religious clothes” should cut her legs in order to force the mother’s hand. An apparent recording of the rabbi’s discussion of this topic surfaced on the Internet today, in which he says that girl deserves the “highest praise” for sanctifying God’s name with her absolute dedication to Torah.
The City of Modi’in, Israel may yet see 50% female representation on its city council in the next election. Mayor Haim Bibas, speaking recently at an evening dedicated to women in leadership, said that he personally hopes to see women as fully equals in the local party lists in 2013.
Ynet has a troubling story about a high-profile rabbi in Israel who gave advice to a young woman to cut her own legs in order to stay religious. The story, if it’s true, conflates male religious authority, extreme body cover and self-mutilation, and brings the discussions of the female body in Judaism to a whole new low. The problem is that this story may not be true, in which case instead of highlighting sexism in Orthodox Judaism, the story becomes an example of journalists’ sometimes overzealousness in their desire to attack religion by pretending to care about women. Especially given the recent history of media attitudes towards France’s burqa ban, the actions of certain journalists are no less troubling than those of religious leaders controlling the female body.
The sexual lives of religious women will be a major topic of discussion at a panel at the upcoming conference organized by the religious women’s forum Kolech. Naomi Marmon Grumet, who has conducted research on the intimate lives of religious women, will be examining the differences between Orthodox men and Orthodox women in preparation for marriage.
My daughter is graduating high school today. This is a huge moment in life — probably more for her than for me, although I’m not sure — and the mass of thoughts and emotions are a bit overwhelming.