I need Jewish feminism because in order to find a women’s text-based sem, I would have to leave my country. I need Jewish feminism because the extracurricular learning for girls at my Jewish school is vague moral platitudes, a world away from Tanach.
I need orthodox feminism so I don’t feel small in my own religion, so I am spiritually enabled, not disabled and so that I am able to transmit the beauty of Judaism to my children and grandchildren.
Audrey Trachtman, JOFA Board Member
We need more female participation in Jewish life and learning because this shouldn’t be anyone’s only perspective on Jewish prayer
In Bereshit 1:27, Hashem created HE/SHE in G-D’s own image…(androgynous - hermaphrodite,bisexual, transgender - 2 separate and distinct individuals??). No G-D given explanation. The parsha continues -” And, THEY shall have dominion overall”. They - together, equally. Additionally, I:29, EVERY tree was to be enjoyed. Interestingly, in I:30…every animal is to eat green herbs….apparently - not each other! In II:16 it says G-D commanded THE MAN (Chaya was not yet created) to NOT eat of the Tree of Knowledge. So, by interpretation one could say…Chaya was not privy to the command. The snake merely ASKS Chaya - Did G-d tell you not to eat? He did not tell her to or sway her. And of course…the snake could only ask what Hashem had told him to ask…no free will yet! And when Hashem tells Adam that on the day he eats of it - he will die…yet, the snake tells chava she would NOT die.. WHO was right, the snake or G-D?? After all - they did NOT die the day they ate the fruit as the Torah says in II:17 stated. How the rabbis have chosen to interpret, embellish, place blame and rewrite - is how the the story has been passed down, and we, like the women in China..,bought into it hook line and sinker. In v2:9, The Tree of LIFE is in the middle of the Garden…Not the Tree Of Knowledge. Why would death be a punishment…what would they have known of death to fear it? Everything had just been created - Nothing had yet died…..death concept is foreign. When you punish - the punishment has to be understood to be valuable and even perhaps feared.
Baruch Hashem, now women are studying, reading, interpreting, becoming scholarly - and coming to conclusions that often differ from their male compatriots…
In II:24 Hashem says the man shall leave HIS family and go to HERS. Hmm, how did that get reversed??
Thank you to all the women who have taken on study, gained wisdom and are scholarly - much to the chargin of many (male) rabbis!!! Thank you for the conversation, shared ideas and enlightenment. Finally - 2013 is looking brighter!!!
Thank you for helping to lead the Jewish women into the future sharing their understanding of what exactly is really expected of them as Jewish women. To no longer buy into NOT being educated (Talmud and Gemorah are SO worthy of study by WOMEN). To NO longer buy into second class status as felt when THE men determined that THE women CANNOT say Kaddish outloud for thier loved ones and hear the all comforting communal: “AMEN”. When kol isha is THEIR problem as are their rules and interpretation of how we need to dress. The idea that we need to be silenced not to embarrass them - is their problem…if we daven better, read better and give a better dvar!
What is also interesting is when words like Adom - is used to mean “humanity” in general - and when specifically “man”. When and how it is used to mean soley MALE, as is the phrase Children of Israel” meant to include ALL or just males. It has been entirely up to the rabbis (male) who have been, till recently, the sole interpretors. And we, not unlike the women of China who bought into the idea they had to painfully bind their feet to fit the interpretation of the males view…for eons we bought into a similar male interpretation of what is expected of women and how we, the women, must abide by their interprrations. When a statement in the Torah states, “Adam is to leave his family and go to hers”……
The modern writings of women, such as:The 5 Books of Miriam, Torah of the Mothers, Sisters at Sinai, Voices of the Matriarchs…are all so enlightenting. Most likely, however the men willl never read them…. so, it is encumbent on the Orthodox Woman to teach, lecture, give seminars, insist our schools TEACH our girls - and broaden the base - for the sake of our daughters. For the sake of Judaism.
I am a Conservative Jewish woman belonging to an egalitarian synaogue. It wasn’t always that way but we finally won the battle about 12 years ago. Having said kaddish for both my parents and not counting to the minyan, I fully understand both your pain and your desires for your daughters and sons. And so I stand with you.
To acknowledge and promote access to Jewish knowledge, foster Jewish morality and be dedicated to Jewish action, we need to inculcate our sons and daughters with visionary purpose and understandings of our traditions and ethics. We all need Jewish feminism.