Over the past year, the Forward has asked its readers about who does what to make Jewish holidays happen in our homes as part of our “Who Sets the Table?” series. Previously, we asked about Passover, the Sabbath and the High Holidays and found that, in each case, moms do most of the work. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender homes tend to be more egalitarian than straight households, though nowhere close to 50-50. The results from our recent Hanukkah survey are consistent with these findings.
As I’ve written before, the goal of this project was never to indict men or condemn any particular arrangement. Instead, we wanted to draw attention to all that goes into making our homes Jewish ones, from the planning of meals to the coordinating of invitations to the teaching of the children about Moses and the Maccabees. This is important work and in an age of declining synagogue attendance, it’s often the only thing making many of us feel Jewish.
So now that we know moms are still doing the lion’s share of domestic work around the holidays, what should come next? Maybe families should talk about whether their current arrangements works for all parties involved and, if not, what they can do differently. Though not let’s limit ourselves to fixing things household by household. We also need better laws and policies that allow those parents who would like to help out more actually be home enough to do so. This is something we need to work on together.
Thanks to everyone who took our survey and shared their stories with us. Here’s to a more gender equal 2016 for all.