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Petition asks RCA to allow women to leave the kitchen

I was recently asked to sign a petition allowing women to officially leave the kitchen. I was shocked that the kitchen rules were still on the books. I had assumed that the laws pertaining to women being forced to stay in the kitchen were abolished years ago, but they werent. In fact, the RCA is holding a conference this weekend to discuss enforcing the women in the kitchen laws and I have been asked to help these chained women leave their homes in search of vitamin D and clean underwear.

The petition is being passed around and already has been signed by well over 1000 people. These people strongly believe that women should not only be allowed out of the kitchen, they should be allowed to take on leadership roles within Judaism, even though they are on a higher spiritual level already and arent responsible for much outside the kitchen.

I have been hesitant to post the petition here for many reasons. I have heard that these women wishing to go beyond their allotted mitzvos wish to do things which women have no place doing. I personally couldnt care less if a woman wants to be a rabbi; its the little things that scare me, allowing women to do certain things erode our mesorah.

Yom Kippur Appeals: This is the Jewish version of barn auctioneer and there is no way a woman could handle the suspense or those Yiddish phrases they say to announce the winner of chosson bereshis. What if the woman conducting the auction chas vshalom were to offer an aliyah to another woman? Women may feel more comfortable bidding for aliyos and other kavods if there was a softer voice doing the auction. Besides, Yom Kippur appeals were always done by men and thats our mesorah.

Kiddush Club: Can you imagine if women thought their rabbinical status gave them entry into Kiddush clubs? People wouldnt show up to shul. The whole point of the Kiddush club is so that men can leave shul and talk about mens stuff in peace. If women were to show up it would throw the vibe off balance. First they would complain about the lack of diet soda, gluten free crackers and then the lack of manners amongst onion slurping herring machers.

Lulav Shaking: Most shul congregants have no idea what the proper way to shake a lulav is as they usually watch the rabbi. What if the rabbi was on the other side of the mechitza? What about the fact that its not customary for women besides baalei teshuvas to shake the lulav? Who will we look to for chizuk? Are they going to have mens and womens hoshanos?

Rabbi Jokes: Do you think women have a mesorah of corny rabbi jokes? Sure, the rebetzins do, but these new school Rabbas might make a mockery of the time honored tradition of corny rabbi jokes.

Shkoyach: whose hand am I supposed to shake after doing pesicha? Surely not the rabbis! Are you getting why having women rabbis is tough? A rabbi without the shkoyach abilities can never be a full rabbi.

Bimah Clopping: Do women even have the strength to do a true bimah clop? Will they place a bimah on the other side of the mechitza so that everyone in the shul will hear the call to yaale vyavo? What if there is no bimah?

I couldnt just post the petition — I had to post it with the above warning but here it is. I told the folks who did this that I am both pro and against having orthodox women rabbis, but I don’t see any harm in some good debate — I just wish Sara Hurwitz were a frummy so it may help her cause a bit.

This petition is not sponsored by any organization. It was written and created by three female college students. To see the latest updates concerning the petition, please visit the Facebook group:


To: The Rabbinical Council of America

Signing this petition authorizes the petition organizers to send the following letter with your name to the RCA. Please fill in your name, city, and title if applicable.

Thank you.

—————————————————————————-

To The Members Of the Rabbinical Council of America:

It is disheartening that we have been compelled to write this letter. The release of the RCA’s recent statement regarding Orthodoxy and women’s leadership roles, makes it distressingly clear that the RCA has no intention of supporting women’s entrance into Jewish leadership. While the RCA seems to place more importance on the semantics of titles rather than confronting the underlying issue, Jewish women across America are waiting with bated breath to see whether the RCA will include women in communal decision-making and allow them to fulfill their full potential as members of the Jewish community.

Thusfar in its 75 years of existence, the male structure of the RCA and synagogues around America have dictated our communal development. Even if the emergence of women religious leaders, such as Rabba Hurwitz, may be an uncomfortably large leap for the RCA at this point, there are still many steps that organizations and synagogues could take to include women in communal decision-making and in leadership capacities that would serve the important function of including the creative and powerful voice of Jewish women.

The undersigned, as well as many others in our Orthodox communities, strongly desire to see efforts and support from the RCA to enable women in positions of religious communal leadership. Doing so not only empowers Orthodox women to contribute to their communities in integral ways, but also offers them a goal in their pursuit of higher levels of Torah study. The RCA’s position on women’s leadership creates ceilings and limits for women’s religious and spiritual growth, and truly inhibits the enormous contributions that women can make to our communities. It also creates a significant schism and enormous frustration for women who see that they are so empowered in the secular sphere but see this empowerment is absent in the sphere that is most important to them.

I applaud those brave, learned women leaders who have stood with dignity, committed to their religious learning, halachic observance, and steadfast dedication to their communities, despite the unfortunate lack of support from the RCA. The RCA should encourage its members and affiliates to create communal leadership positions for women in their respective communities. It is my hope that the RCA will realize the enormous meaning their support would have to these women, and the immense benefit this would have in our communities by increasing the quality of Orthodox leadership, the faith of Orthodox women in our religious system, and strengthening observance and commitment to a Torah life of klal yisrael.

Please send all replies and inquiries to rca.petition@gmail.com.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Hesh-nik April 19, 2010, 6:10 PM

    Cant tell if this article is true or not!
    Frum Satire at its best!

  • proud mother April 19, 2010, 6:39 PM

    I see my role as a woman to be a very strong leadership role; I am raising my 5 boys to be strong men. One day my boys will go out and be Jewish leaders they will represent me and my views they will teach what I thought them.

    • Tova April 19, 2010, 7:08 PM

      I admire SAHMs, but that doesn’t mean I think they should live through their sons. They should live through themselves.

    • Meir April 19, 2010, 8:37 PM

      Oh, wow, that is a superb article you’ve linked to on “Your Jewish News”;

      Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi saying immodestly dressed women cause earthquakes.

      Why don’t we get along better? We (or at least ultra-Orthodox Jews) agree on so much with Iran.

      Now, I guess that Yehuda Levin says it is gays who cause earthquakes (other disasters being caused by untznius women), but surely this is a relatively minor difference we can work out?

  • Phil April 19, 2010, 7:18 PM

    The m.o. shul I used to go to had some women at the kiddush club, though they were all past retirement age.

    Here is a cute joke I heard about women and empowerment:

    Jack realizes that Jill doesn’t have a weewee and starts making fun of her not having one of these. She’s goes home in tears and tells her mom, who proceeds to give her sound advice.

    Next day when Jack starts again, she lifts her skirt and says “with one of these I can get hundreds of those”!

  • DrumIntellect April 20, 2010, 3:05 PM

    Interesting that out of 1143 signatures, only 11 didn’t make their information private.

    • DrumIntellect April 20, 2010, 3:08 PM

      It’s not my day. Many more made their signatures public. I’m happy for their “bravery”.

      • Heshy Fried April 20, 2010, 3:16 PM

        I didn’t sign – I usually don’t sign petitions, I did my duty by posting it.

  • Michele April 20, 2010, 6:05 PM

    It’s sad that Jewish feminist women still can’t seem to get past the 1970’s. Judaism, even by the super frum among us, glorifies women. Women are the essence of everything Jewish. The 3 mitzvot that define one as religious are all mitzvot that only a woman can really bring about– shabbat, kashrut, and the laws of niddah. The fact that these women are still complaining proves that they feel that their gender provides no inherent benefit and are actually valuing male gender roles over their own, thus making the female gender into less than nothing. These women are their own worst enemy.

  • A. April 20, 2010, 7:17 PM

    Judaism doe not glorify women. To quote the Maharal of Prague in his introduction to Derech Chaim “Women are compared to matter to which clings deficiency”.

  • Ari April 20, 2010, 10:08 PM

    Michelle,
    The truth is that Judaism does not unequivocally glorify women. The attitude of Judaism to women is very ambiguous. The Maharal of Prague, one of the greatest and most influential Jewish thinkers, says the following in his introduction to Derech Chaim: “Like they said (Bereishis Rabba 13) `When the Woman was created the Satan was created with her’… and the reason is that the Woman is compared to matter, to which clings deficiency and death, which is Satan.” And later: “… because one who talks a lot with women is drawn after a substance which is inadequate, to which clings deficiency and evil…” Derech Chaim (1:5)
    The Maharal is a big hashkafa authority in both litvish and chasidish camps. He is quoted at least 10 times in the Tanya. No Rabbi would say bad things about women to a woman openly but you should know that this is what they believe and think. They also have good things to say about women, but mostly on a practical level. Philosophically women are considered “deficient”.

  • michal April 21, 2010, 6:33 AM

    I say, instead of bemoaning the “I don’t,” you should embrace the, “I don’t have to.” I don’t do $hit anymore-Jewishwise. I sleep in on Shabbos and enjoy the priviledge. The men have to get out their warm beds. I don’t.

    • BaltoGirl December 12, 2013, 9:32 AM

      Amen.

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