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Fum girls don’t become feminists

108 comments

I’m not sure that women wanting to lain or say kiddush is necessarily feminism, but in the frum community it’s been deemed such and so I’ve been wondering why it is that frum girls usually don’t get into the feminism thing. Is it because they are sheltered, or is it because they have what they need and aren’t always wondering about the rituals and traditions that don’t apply to them in an orthodox interpretation of the Torah. 

A lot of people look at frum society and scoff at the lack of freedoms for women, they say that separate but equal doesn’t really apply here because women can’t do this and that, the list goes on, but is this really the case. It seems to me that the grass is always greener can really apply to women who don’t feel fulfilled in their roles. Now before all you feminists start burning your bras on my lawn, I’ll have you know that I don’t think it’s wrong for women to do a lot of the things they do – I’m just kind of wondering about such things.

Or are we orthodox people all brainwashed into the women’s roles thing? I don’t really like the whole apologetic “women are on a higher spiritual level” stuff, it bugs me. Of course, on the flip side most of the women I know who want to do the stuff that men are doing aren’t doing the basic mitzvos commanded of all of us. If you were a very frum woman who kept halacha and finally decided that your madreiga was such that it was time to put on talis and tefillin, go gezunta heit. Perfect, I have no qualms with that, what bothers me is the fact that people seem to be very picky and choosy with their mitzvot and it seems they are picking the rituals without bothering to obey basic halacha.

Why is it that once people begin to keep basic halacha, they lose interest in trying to do everything that seems interesting and start to focus on what they’re supposed to be doing (according to shulchan aruch I’m saying) Sure, I want to take challah, have babies and go to the mikvah after my period, but God commanded that I wake up at 6am and wrap myself bondage style in cow hide and boxes.

  • DL

    I am a frum girl who wishes she could wear a tallit and lay tefillin in shul rather than having to do it in secret. However, I am not perfect, and thus I refuse to accept your distinction between observant and non-observant. I struggle daily to have proper kavanah while davening, to put myself in the right mindset every morning to live a Torah lifestyle, especially since it does not matter to anyone if I do. Perhaps it is precisely because a lot of us, across levels of observance, struggle to keep the basic mitzvot that we need tallit/teffilin as reminders! Since when does anyone have to be on any madreiga to lay tefillin? Chabad emissaries invite anyone from prison inmates to Buddhist monks to lay tefillin, with hopes that the experience of doing this will ignite a spark that will lead to more mitzvot!

    I know that I need this practice – perhaps my grandmothers and mother did not do this, but if we are supposed to be descending in holiness and piety every generation , perhaps I need this extra help. Is that so bad?

    • anon

      How old are you? are you married with kids? do you keep all the laws of taharas mishpacha properly? do you keep all the laws that pertain to women properly? why do you put on tefillin? What chabad emisaries do, don’t necessarily represent authentic Judaism. in fact most of them are not very learned in gemara and halacha. fact

      • Chaim

        When personal bias becomes fact…Every Chabad emmisary spends at least six years studying gemara in yeshiva and one to two years smicha.

      • Citic

        “What chabad emisaries do, don’t necessarily represent authentic Judaism.”
        Your knowledge of Chabad “emisaries” seems is at the same level as your spelling and grammar skills.

        • Critic

          “What chabad emisaries do, don’t necessarily represent authentic Judaism.”
          Your knowledge of Chabad “emisaries” is at the same level as your spelling and grammar skills.

          • anon

            Troll like you never made a typo?

            • Critic

              Spelling typos yes but grammatical error is ignorance. “What chabad emisaries do,”DON’T”???? necessarily represent authentic Judaism.”
              I may be a “troll” but you sir remain an ignorant bigot who accuses Chabad shluchim of ignorance.How ironic.

              • anon

                I have never accused chabad shluchim of ignorance. I said there are many who aren’t very learned. Chabad rabbis and parents encourage their youth to do kiruv, whether they know shulchan aruch and gemara or not. There is no rebbe today, so there are many chabadniks who have been misguided. Speaking of bigoted, chabad shluchim want people to be chabad more so than Jewish. I’m speaking from experience. What exactly is your educational level and what are you doing for a living. Numbers are universal. Money doesn’t need to be proofread, it’s more important than grammar.

                • Anonymous

                  you didn’t say many, you said most.
                  you are talking rubbish, and if your comment reflects your experience, all that says is that your experience is limited.

    • Chabad Shaliach

      Of course Chabad helps lowlife degenrate inmates put on tfillin. That person is michyav to wear tfillin! If one were not michuyav, i wonder how many men would be putting on Tfillin.

      • anon

        Are all the inmates jewish? do you know every chabad emisary. Ive seen some prettyyoung ones

        • Chaim

          Tefillin are layed with people whose mothers are Jewish (the Aleph insittute actually requires references to prove Jewishness – from my visits in some 65 Prisons across America).

          Side thought…What would happen if G-d forbid by mistake tefillin is layed with a non-jew?

          • anon

            Ive never been to prison b4. Ive seen many teens or guys who appear to be in their 20s offering tefillin to whomever wishes. There is no basis for this in judaism. Guys like these arent qualified to do kiruv. But its not their fault because they are brainwashed as well. A chasidus without a rebbe is not good

            • Chaim

              The famous Chabad expression “Excuse me, Are you Jewish” Isn’t exactly offering Tefillin to anyone

              • anon

                What about putting on tefillin on buddhist monks? That’s not an anomaly

                • Critic

                  Sad to say there are quite a number of misguided Jews who have “converted” to Buddhism or other forms of avodeh zoreh. Hallichkly a Jew remains a Jew no matter what he assumes he has converted to.The “Buddhist monk”was in all probability a Jew.In spite of the spin and misinformation that your spouting about the “evils”of Chabad the first thing that a Chabadnic asks before putting on Tfillin with someone is “Are you Jewish” so cut the BS.

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      I never said it was bad, in fact to argue on the flipside, I have made the point that it’s a good thing that women want to do things they are not commanded to do – it’s like learning for the sake learning, not for brownie points. You may not get a mitzvah for it, but it’s a way to bring you closer to God what’s better than that.

    • Person

      “Perhaps it is precisely because a lot of us, across levels of observance, struggle to keep the basic mitzvot that we need tallit/teffilin as reminders!”

      This is all a bit illogical. I’m pretty sure for men, tallit and teffilin are “basic mitzvot”. Mitzvot are not “extra help”. A Chumra is extra help…

      The reason that it is problematic for women to take on men’s mitzvot when they aren’t doing the ones already set for them is simple, why would you take on another task if you can’t already accomplish that which is already on the list? Obviously, HaShem gave us the mitzvos we need and men the ones they need. Everyone struggles, you are supposed to struggle. That is pretty much the point, to overcome those struggles using the tools handed to you.

  • Anonymous

    it might lead to mixed dancing.

    • Shmul

      Like

  • Anonymous

    It might lead to double tefillin dating

  • http://orthofeminist.wordpress.com OrthoFeminist

    Why is a woman that wishes to put on tallit and tefillin berated for all the mitzvot that she doesn’t keep but a man that wishes to start putting on tallit/tfillin is applauded?

    “If you were a very frum woman who kept halacha and finally decided that your madreiga was such that it was time to put on talis and tefillin, go gezunta heit. Perfect, I have no qualms with that, what bothers me is the fact that people seem to be very picky and choosy with their mitzvot and it seems they are picking the rituals without bothering to obey basic halacha.”

    I think you’re confusing the feminist issue with the ritual issue.

    Judaism is a religion built around rituals, so that’s why people want to start doing those things. The idea of rituals are that by doing the act, an inner feeling is supposed to be evoked (but is it really? maybe something to be discussed in a future post?). Mitoch sh’lo lisma ba lishma.

    Feminists want to do the rituals for the same reason men want to-in order to get that tingly feeling that comes from doing a physical act symbolic of a relationship with god (***as an aside, I know you made a joke about the bondage/tfilin thing, but the underlying idea of both of them is that by tying yourself up, you are putting complete trust in the other person/god)

    • What she said

      Right on Sistah!

    • G*3

      > Feminists want to do the rituals for the same reason men want to

      That’s the funny thing. Many men DON’T want to. Getting up at 6AM to go to minyan is a pain. Trying to keep your talis from slipping while juggling a couple of kids is a pain. Sitting in the succah in the cold is a pain.

    • anon

      FIrst do what a woman is supposed to do then ask if putting on tefillin is right

      • bratschegirl

        ooh, time to curl up next to the computer with popcorn and watch the fun unfold…

        • Rebecca

          Like :)

      • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

        So what about men, should they first do everything they are supposed to do before doing things like wearing tzitzis at night and shuckling like madmen while saying things they don’t understand.

        • anon

          You should still wear tzitzis at night. Get an artscroll if youre concerned with not understanding everything but you still have to daven 3 times a day.

        • Dan

          yes, men absolutely should first do everything they are supposed to do, before taking on chumros.

          • Lex Luthor

            Yes, absolutely.

          • Dan

            And in my yeshiva we talked critically about that all the time. See, there is plenty to self-criticize about out society, but you guys usually miss all the valid points because you know nothing, and pick on invalid points because you know nothing.

    • ttma11

      judaism is not about following rituals. It is about following what halacha says and keeping to it. We don’t drink wine on friday night because it is a ritual. We drink wine because halacha says that we have to do kiddush and you can only do kiddush on chamar medinah, wine and alcohol. And if someone couldnt afford wine he still has to do kiddush. Everything is within halacha, not based on different rituals

  • Tirtza

    Coming from a family involved in kiruv my father always explained it: people that weren’t raised frum think that Judaism is lived and observed in shul. People raised frum see that the most important parts of Judaism are performed at home. So frum girls have a large amount of participation in all the home activities and therefore do not see tfillin or wearing tallis as a large part of being Jewish. We know we have a very large contribution and personally I’m happy with all my responsibilities and not looking to add to any.
    I also think we only see examples of the gender roles of the frum world and look up to those examples.
    Add to all this a strong discouragement to be different or modern and I don’t know of any frum women who have openly expressed a want to perform the time-bound mitzvos.

    • Nummy

      True. Once you go to a frum home your realize who “wears the pants” in the house…

  • feminist

    Plenty of men put on tallit and tefillin at home. I don’t see the distinction.

  • NK

    Just seems to me that focusing on the outside stuff that are the man’s domain, is a really sorry excuse for a women not to look inside towards the women’s domain. I think they keep trying to make what the liberal media feminists’ argument is work with observant Judaism. It never will. The reason is that Hashem, in his infinite wisdom, created men and women to be DIFFERENT. Both physically and spiritually. Those women who try to feel fulfilled simply by acting like men, are, in reality, ignoring the importance of the femininity. In reality, the feminists are the biggest sexists of them all, as they put little to no importance on what the women do!

    • Feminism can use to cultivate the great power of femininity

      Like

    • anonymous

      Yes!! I love this. It’s so true. They completely discount the importance of the woman’s role. I love this topic!! Thanks, Heshy! This is something I think about a lot as a woman who is a singular minority in a sea of women who have careers outside the home. I am a strange anomaly in the non-orthodox world… i have to go. hopefully this convo will still keep going later.

    • Person

      I agree. Why is it soooo much better to do Men’s mitzvot? Because Men are supposed to do it? Didn’t you know, men’s mitzvot hold an elevated placement… Meaning, women’s mitzvot aren’t really worth anything. Women are really disconnected to G-d in a way men can’t understand…

      OH WAIT! THAT DOESN’T SOUND FEMINIST AT ALL!!!
      By saying “I want to keep this mitzvah because men can/do.” It is like saying “I really want to use the restroom standing up because I feel it does the job better.” Women’s mitzvot are just as important as men’s and I think frum women realize this better because they are actually keeping them.

  • http://jacobsbones.wordpress.com/ Beth Frank-Backman

    — Why is it that once people begin to keep basic halacha, they lose interest in trying to do everything that seems interesting and start to focus on what they’re supposed to be doing —

    Perhaps you are thinking of baalot tshuva?

    In my experience (of 40+ years ), people who grow up in committed Jewish families work through these decisions in a different way. It really doesn’t matter whether they are Reform, Conservative, or even Haredi. Usually they are looking for a way to deepen their connection to G-d beyond Shabbat, kashrut, or a monthly trip to the mikvah. They do it so that they will be more able to emotionally and spiritually to fulfill mitzvot. And I don’t just mean ritual mitzvot. I mean all the ben adam l’havero that often depend on judgement calls and midot in order to carry them out wisely.

    I pray with a tallis. The physicality reminds me of G-d’s presence around me during prayer. It also helps me stay focused on the specific prayer I’m praying. The effect lingers after prayer. When I need to imagine G-d around me as I go through the day, the physicality of the morning prayer stays with me in a way that just davening with words does not.

    It is so important to me, that I will go off on my own and daven if I am in an environment where my talis isn’t welcome. Not ideal because I think praying in community is important, but prayer is my time to talk to HaShem, so divikut comes first. Too much else in my life depends on that prayer time.

    As for why you don’t know so many frum feminists, might it be because they don’t feel welcome and find other communities? Especially in NYC there are a lot of options for a woman who is both observant and feminist. Or they look longingly at things they want but won’t try because their bonds to community hold them back. Also because of all of the pressure not to be different or modern, many women only speak of these things to other women who they trust will be accepting.

    Personally, I think there is a real loss here that needs to be considered By not allowing women to do these things, certain women are forced to choose between their loyalty to community(and even family) and something that they know in their heart will help deepen their Jewish life . Asserting over and over that no true woman who understood her Jewish neshama would ever feel that conflict doesn’t make it so.

    • Be the best YOU can be.

      Do you wear tzitzis (tallis kattan) during the day? This way you can be reminded of all the mitzvos, all the time and be constantly wrapped in the Holiness of G-d.
      The answer is, that you most likely do not.
      I think what Heshy is saying, is that there are so many mitzvos for you to pick and chose from, if you are the type to pick and chose, why not chose some that according to the Shulchan Aruch are actually applicable to you?
      Im not a Kohein, and Ive always felt that I might have a deeper spiritual experience by actively participating in Bircas Kohanim- having my hands washed by a Levi, taking off my shoes, and blessing the congregation while making hand gestures and swaying.
      But, Im not a Kohein, so I dont do it.
      Although there have been times where I was in a shul where nobody knew who I was, and when leining started they called out looking for a Kohein for an Aliyah, and I seriously considered saying that I was a Kohein and being called up as one. But then I realized that Im not a Kohein, I am a lesser Jew known as a Yisroel.
      Nobody will ever wash my hands as part of a ritual blessing service, and nobody will ever tithe me the crops of their fields. I will never do avodah in the Beis Hamikdash and I will never get an the first aliyah in shul if there is a Kohein, and not even the 2nd if theres also a Levi.
      But you know what?
      G-d made me a Yisroel, not a Kohein or Levi (most likely). So I just try to be the best damn Yisroel out there day in and day out. But I know that there are other Jews known as Kohanim who have a loftier spiritual status than I because they happen to be a descendent from Aharon Hakohein or from the tribe of Levi. I just try to be the best that Im supposed be. I will never be as special as a Kohein or Levi. That is my lot in life. I know this. And I deal with it.

      • Nummy

        I like your comparison

      • Shmul

        Ein mashul domeh l’nimshel – But your analogy implies that women are lesser Jews which is insulting. They are different – not more or less lofty.

      • http://jacobsbones.wordpress.com/ Beth Frank-Backman

        I obviously was not clear. My original point was that even educated and committed Jewish women, still find value in praying with tallit, leyning, and so on. Heshey Fried suggested that the urge goes away once one observes kashrut, etc and my point was that there are women who DO observe kashrut, shabbat, etc. and still desire this __in addition__. It can’t simply be dismissed as something wanted solely by ignorant women who leap onto obvious publicly visible observances because they don’t know how much Judaism has to offer.

        You are quite right that people should chose mitzvot that are appropriate to them. Embroidering a beautiful challah cover is a mitzvah, but it isn’t an appropriate one for someone who has no artistic skill and no manual dexterity. Visiting the sick is a mitzvah, but it is an inappropriate mitzvah for someone whose immune system is so compromised that getting another person’s cold might kill them.

        However, I don’t think we can say with absolute certainty that tallis (gdol or ktan) and tefillin etc are “not for women” or “only for men” the way washing is only for Levis and duchaning is only for kohanim. The Talmud says that Michal, daughter of King Saul, wore tefillin. Rashis daughters wore tallitot and lay tefillin. There is a Sephardi tradition that some communities in Spain, learned women woke before their husbands, donned tefillin, wrapped themselves in tallitot, read Torah, and returned home to help their husbands get ready in the morning. In the modern era, no less than Moshe Feinstein said that a woman could wear a tallis. His main concern was kavanah. He didn’t want women wearing tallitot just to prove a point, but if the goal was truly a deeper connection to G-d, then it was a different matter entirely. For some women being the best woman and the best Jew they can be does include davening with a tallit.

        As for the tallit katan, tallit during prayer and tallis katan are complementary mitzvot. They each symbolize a different yet important aspect of our relationship with G-d. One isn’t a substitute for the other. Ideally we should have both reminders of G-d in our lives. Tallis katan is about keeping G-d close to our hearts and the center of our will. A tallis wrapped around oneself during prayer is a reminder of G-d’s presence in the world around us, sheltering us. ??????????, ??????????? ????-?????; ?????? ??????????, ??????????????. (Tehillim 17:8)

        Your assumption that women don’t wear tallitot ktan is incorrect. I certainly know of women who observe both mitzvot or even wear talit k’tan but not talit g’dol. You are simply more aware of the tallit g’dol discussion because wearing a tallit during prayer is visible to all and can’t happen without the consent of the community. For obvious reasons of modesty, what a woman wears under her external clothes is not up for discussion except in private conversations.

        • anon1

          Thank you, Beth, for providing such an interesting response. I liked it.

    • http://evolvingjew.wordpress.com philo

      Beth – beautifully put.

    • CS

      Go with your heart!

      I’d also contact some of the subjects of this article, as I think you might be a kindred spirit with them:

      http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2003/07/costing_an_arm_and_a_leg.html

      Hatzlacha rabba.

  • http://www.kissamezuzah@blogspot.com Susan

    A lot of the women who participate with Women of the Wall, including some of the founders, are Orthodox. These are frum women who want to pray out loud, wearing a tallit and teffilin, at the Kotel in Jerusalem. This is why the Women of the Wall follow Orthodox practices: so that all women may participate. It simply isn’t accurate to say frum women don’t want to do these things.

  • Misinformed

    The issue with a woman putting on tefilin, I’m not sure, but from my understanding is, that she is tamei a couple weeks a month, and when tamei, one should not put on tefilin, and since this is something which is a natural occurence, women don’t put it on at anytime, and besides I don’t want to sound like a chauvinist, but just imagine women with children had to go to shul every morning to daven with a minyan in tefilin,,,, the balance of a jewish would be totaly out of whack. Bottem line, do the mitzvos u do have very well and let us men struggle with tefilin in the morning

    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:DRosenbach DRosenbach

      It’s not an issue of technical tumah (impurity) and tahara (purity) because tumas meis (impurity of the dead) is upon far greater than the 99% of us and even for women (and men) who go to a mikvah, tumas meis is not removed in the absence of purification using red heifer ashes. Necessarily, then, reference to impurity is in a more colloquial sense.

      • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

        And I should also mention that women can hold a torah any time they please as well…

        • Dan

          Ummm. Not really. A nidda is not supposed to touch a torah. See OC 88; and MB ad loc 7.

          Although, I am not aware that applies to tefillin.

          • Lex Luthor

            I’m with Heshy on this one. The SA (YD 282:9) rules like him. Even the Rema in OC that you cited, says that the correct halakha is like him, and just that the prevalent (in his day) custom isn’t.

            • Dan

              I note that MB says the minhag is that they should not even look at the torah while it is open, and I easily assume that MB certainly holds they shouldn’t touch it.

              It is only minhag though, as you note. But we are bound to minhag as well as to din.

              • Lex Luthor

                Assuming the people Heshy is talking about have that minhag. Last time I looked up at the balcony at my ultra-orthodox shul, I didn’t see any women averting their eyes at hagbah. Though maybe they all weren’t Niddahs.

                • Dan

                  It is of course possible that the minhag is to only not touch, but yest to look. It is perhaps for that reason that the minhag in mainstream orthodoxy has always been to NOT carry the torah to the women for them to kiss it, even when it is carried around.

                  But you are correct, my real point should have been that it is not necessarily muttar.

    • http://evolvingjew.wordpress.com philo

      Any man who has ever “spilled his seed” (and unless you’re asexual, you have) is tamei. Doesn’t keep us from having to put on tefillin.

      • anon

        Men are supposed to go to the mikvah in that event. But a shower is good enough.

        • Yochanan

          You should at least wash your hands. With soap and water. Not the nagelvasser way.

      • Dan

        The better argument is that any man who has ever been to a cemetery is tamei. And no mikva will help that.

      • Yochanan

        Wasn’t takanat ‘Ezra rejected?

  • Yirmi

    Outside of the Orthodox, Muslim or conservative Christian world, go to any “spiritual” event and 90% of the people there are women. A lot of men who aren’t from conservative religious traditions (and who thus believe they’re obligated to observe certain things) would rather just not do it. While I understand that women may feel excluded by their inability to do certain things within Orthodoxy, and I believe in involving women in ritual and community matters to the maximum halachically possible extent, I think men’s responsibility for certain things — laining, davening with a minyan, tefillin, etc. — serves a very important function by keeping the men involved in the religion, and in bettering themselves spiritually and ethically. In more liberal versions of Judaism (and I think we see this in some Christian denominations too), once women were able to do the same things, men lose interest and stop coming to shul. When men have something just for them it’s more motivating.

    • anonymous

      Hi,
      I’m on the path towards more observance, but I go to a synagogue that is both Reform and Conservative, because it’s the only one in the town where I live. It’s a lay led congregation, and 95 percent of the leading is done by women. There a lot of Jews where I live, but only about 2 percent of them come to shul on Shabbat, and there is no minyan during the week. I read somewhere that the reason a minyan is supposed to be made up of ten men is because men aren’t so great at making friends. If they’re forced to make a minyan, then they’ll eventually be friendly with one another.

      As a woman, a busy woman with a few kids, I see the need for men to have their thing to do, so they can be manly with other men and be macho in expressing their Judaism. It’s good for the men to be involved in something that only men can do. It keeps them busy and engaged, and they don’t have to multi-task for their religion like women do.

      I am busy enough preparing for hosting on Shabbat and preparing for holidays, and doing all the halachic mitzot that I can, to worry about laying tefillin and a tallit.

      I daven the morning prayers. I think traditionally it’s done that the women daven mincha, but I have children that I am teaching, and so we do the morning prayers. My husband doesn’t daven in the a.m. regularly, but maybe someday he will, and then he can take this over.

      Anyway. I am so over the whole feminist movement. Not that I don’t enjoy having female doctors and midwives, and women doing great things. I just think that for the most part, feminism has taken women out of the home for materialism and money, and given people an empty shell of what home life should be like.

      • Anonymous

        i agree. also, isn’t it sad that the thrust of the “feminist” movement is to make us more like men?

        • anonymous

          Definitely. It’s completely ridiculous. Men and women are so different. When I commented about how women can multi-task…it’s much easier for women in general to multi-task then men. I am not being sexist. It’s just true. I have a boy and a girl, and I did not guide them to be girly or boy-ish. I treated them exactly how they needed to be treated according to who they are, and they are just so feminine and masculine. Anyway, thanks for replying.

      • T

        Feminism is the radical notion that women are people too. All the rest is commentary :-)

      • Yirmi

        Anonymous: thanks for sharing. That’s an interesting idea about men being less friendly — maybe it’s true. Regarding women’s obligations to pray shacharit and mincha, communities have varying customs but most Orthodox authorities rule that women are required to daven both. Ma’ariv, though, is widely considered optional. I wish you the best with your path toward observance!

        I have nothing against feminism in general — women being able to do whatever profession they want, having an important leadership roles, etc. — I just disagree with the idea that Jewish law should be completed reworked to make everything the same for women and men. That can’t be done according to the traditional halachic process, so it is only done in an environment where halacha is changed whenever it’s convenient or desirable for whatever reason. The result are communities that don’t in practice believe that halacha (even the prohibition against intermarriage) is required and worth studying and observing.

    • Catholic Mom

      If you want to know where the “feminization” of religion leads to — just drop by any of your mainline (Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist) churches that have women clergy — which are mostly empty or else filled with women.

      It’s very important to me when I take my sons to church that they see that this is something that *men* are doing and in which *men* take leadership. Otherwise they might as well just join the Girl Scouts. Women don’t have to be dragged into church — it’s an inherently feminine activity that they’re going to be drawn to anyway.

      • http://www.kissamezuzah@blogspot.com Susan

        Just because this happens in come religious institutions doesn’t mean it necessarily happens everywhere. In my eagalitarian synagogue, with a female head rabbi and a male second rabbi, we have good attendance at services, and the members attending are not predominantly female.

        It isn’t egalitarianism or female clergy that lead to the problem of men not attending – it’s some other problem with how the services are being conducted or some other factor that is failing to inspire the men to want to attend.

        • Catholic Mom

          I think you see that in the “first generation” of women in the clergy. It’s a novelty and it’s kind of warm and fuzzy and sweet. The problem is that the profession becomes feminized and you have a tipping point where more women than men are going into the seminary. At that point you have not just your “head” rabbi (minister) being a woman but your “second” one as well. Now you start having a hard time trying to convince boys that this is a profession they should go into or men that going to church is any different than staying at home and letting their wives (or mothers) natter at them.

          Of course, it depends on what you mean by “egalitarian.” Christianity is completely “egalitarian” in that men and women are seen as completely equal before God and participate equally and in the same way in the service. Women can serve as lectors, cantors, ushers, altar girls etc. etc. But the priest, who stands in persona Christi, is male . History has shown that when you mess with that, things go south in a couple generations. Pretty soon you’ve got “mother goddess” masses and worse.

        • CS

          Your egalitarian synagogue will die a slow death, and the men will eventually leave. May take a generation or so, but it will happen.

          Healthy gender separation is good for men, not just women. Men have their own approach to spirituality and don’t need passive aggressive, PC conscious, hen-pecky women ruining the experience.

          Thank God I didn’t marry one of you fruitcakes.

          • http://www.kissamezuzah@blogspot.com Susan

            CS, I’m afraid your crystal ball is broken. Our synagogue is over 50 years old, and going strong. In fact, even in this tough economy, both participation (among both genders) and donations are up.

            I am sure most people don’t like passive aggressive, hen pecky women, nor aggressive, mysoginistic men ruining the experience. Lucky for us, we have very few, if any, of these types of people at our synagogue.

            What we do have is an amazing sense of community, including both men and women. It’s a very healthy, welcoming environment. We get compliments all the time from visitors about how they wish their synagogue at home were more like ours. You should come visit us sometime to see how great a shul like this can be.

            Maybe this environment isn’t for you, and that’s fine. You should attend synagogue where you like. But what we have works well for us, and there is no rational reason to believe it won’t continue.

            • CS

              I don’t need a crystal ball. Synagogues such as yours are going the way of the dinosaur all over America. It doesn’t happen overnight–God allows people to persist in the direction they truly want to go; the true effects are seen in the religious commitments of the grandchildren.

              It’s not misogynistic to hold women to standards of behavior, or to expect them to approach their religion with integrity.

              • http://www.kissamezuzah.blogspot.com Susan

                Clearly, you are not interested in actual evidence. What you describe may be happening in other synagogues, but they are not like my synagogue. Perhaps they should come learn something from us.

                Our synagogue is old enough that the current young generation does include grandchildren and great grandchildren of the founders. We are still thriving.

                And of course it isn’t misogynistic to hold women to standards of behaviour or to expect them to approach their religion with integrity. However, those standards of behaviour to which we hold women should be no different tthan those to which we hold men.

                • Dan

                  Susan, when people say “egalitarian shul” I’m usually thinking about a bay area special, where they pretend to keep all the mitzvos except that they want men and women to be equal.

                  Is that what you are talking about, or are you talking about a reform or conservative shul?

      • An-on

        And stop in at a Catholic church and who is there for daily mass- men or women? How many fewer Catholic parochial schools are there today? How many dioceses have consolidated. I guess the all male clergy thing isn’t much of a deciding factor.

    • Jr

      So in other words – men will only take part in religious observances which supposedly make them closer to HaShem so long as the REAL motivation is that it makes them feel they get to be superior to women.

      Thanks for clarifying.

  • http://AztecQueen2000.blogspot.com AztecQueen2000

    Women’s “special mitzvos” are basically down to two (taking challah and lighting Shabbos candles can be done by men in a pinch). They are–going to the mikvah after their “ladies’ time” (And with enough kids, that maybe becomes an issue about a dozen times over the course of her childbearing years) and covering every inch of her body. Boy, does that feel special.

    • anon

      They’re expected to be raising the children more than the father, not hire cleaning ladies to do it for them.

    • Tirtza

      Chinuch and tznius are not little things. I understand some people don’t see them as satisfying enough. But raising good children and being modest (not just in dress but speech and mannerisms) is challenging!
      Add to this the never ending challenges of life, and i have trouble davening one time a day. I can’t imagine adding all the “male” mitzvos. Plus, should you need more rituals, which is fine, there is no limit to how much you can daven, tihillim, chesed etc. With all this I have trouble understanding needing a tallis or saying Kiddish to expand my observance or feeling closer to Hashem.

      • http://AztecQueen2000.blogspot.com AztecQueen2000

        Tirtza–
        Not all women have children. A single, childless male can still go to shul, learn, and lay tefillin. A single, childless female may not necessarily be responsible for lighting Shabbos candles or making challah (many still live with their parents). And, she does not have to go to mikvah. She has no communal role in Judaism, other than covering every inch of her body. (Oh, how I remember the days before marriage–not particularly well.)

        • Dan

          I don’t like communist roles anyway.

        • anon

          It used to be that women got married at a very young age.

    • http://www.frumsatire.net Heshy Fried

      It also sucks that the mitzvah of children is the man’s mitzvah, the first time I found this out – I was kind of pissed.

      • Yochanan

        And why is Pru Urvu a mitzva in the first place? Seems like a basic biological drive to me.

        • anon

          Learn your beraishis again. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

          • Yochanan

            He also said “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”

            Do the fish and birds get mitzva points? What about a dog having puppies?

            Getting horny and begetting offspring is pretty much universal for all sexually reproducing organisms.

      • T

        Now why is that? Isn’t that the only fun you guys get to have?

  • http://evolvingjew.wordpress.com philo

    Heshy,

    Places like Hadar (full egal) or Shira Chadasha (partial egal) are chock full of observant girls from frum families.

    • Dan

      There is a seminary called Hadar in Jerusalem, which is known as being super duper yeshivish. The girls who go there are usually too aidel, and are known as “Hadarlings”.

  • http://evolvingjew.wordpress.com philo

    ” I don’t want to sound like a chauvinist, but just imagine women with children had to go to shul every morning to daven with a minyan in tefilin,,,, the balance of a jewish would be totaly out of whack. “

    That’s only because you think that Jewish balance means having the women be the primary child caregivers. Why shouldn’t the men take care of the kids while the women go to minyan?

    • anon

      Women aren’t included in a minyan

    • http://yeshivaforum.wordpress.com OfftheDwannaB

      Because 99% of women don’t want that in a man. If that changes, then fine. But ppl still stick to traditional roles and want to have men’s roles too. And what happens to the children you popped out? Of course they’re the only real casualty in your search for personal fulfillment.
      You can’t be a man and have kids. Someone needs to take care of them. Find a lesbian partner, find a sensitive man, or just do man mitzvos when all the kids are out of the house.

  • yankelyoffen

    The real question is why aren’t there more frum masculinist. I mean just look at us. We used to be proud men who supported their families with dignity. Now we have been pidgeonholed into learning in kollel while the WIFE goes out and works !! How emasculating !! We pick up the kids bain hadarim (while faithfully listening to Rush Limbaugh of course. In last weeks Yated one of the columnists actually wrote abouth the pride he feels when he hears yeshiva guys quoting Rush.) We do the shopping on Friday while our wives are out in the real world fighting for a buck.

    It gets worse. Most Lakewood poskim now basically assur anal. This is not a joke. Such things are simply unacceptable in the “Ir Hatorah.” But we all know its just a ploy by the women who don’t like it anyway.

    Rabboisai, its time for us men to stand up for our rights.

    • T

      Here, here :-). Nice soapbox tirade.

    • Dan

      nice

  • Man

    All the trouble started when women got the silly idea that their opinion matters. Newsflash: It doesn’t. Go make a kugel and get the shalach manos ready. Biology is destiny. Now stfu.

  • Tamar

    Well, guess what? Having babies is a man’s mitvah (peru urevu)!

  • Former Feminist

    I have realized the error of my ways, banged my chest for all the sins of my college-educated youth, done teshuvah and given thousands of dollars to proper yiddische institutions that would never allow a woman to open a Gemara, even if it was (heaven forbid) artscroll and her purpose was to remove the rugelach crumbs from last month’s tisch.

    Even after my sincere repentance, I still see why it’s possible to want the physical sensation of being wrapped in a symbol of the mitzvos, be they tallis katan or the bondage straps of black shiny leather. Why should we deny women the distinct pleasure of having the tzitzis tickle their lower thighs, or upper calves if you are really frum?

    Actually, the kids will have something to play with when they follow Mommy into the bathroom. See, it’s a mitzvah! Mommy will be educating her little ones even when she’d rather have a two minute rest from the whining and begging. Maybe we should make it a mitzvah aaseh. That way women will be obligated to never leave their precious kinderlach, even for a moment. Now where’s my hotline to the gadol hador? I have a phone call to make.

  • anonymous

    I commented earlier about how I was thinking women who don kippot and tefillin, etc, are yearning for more mitzvot when I think we have plenty else to do with our lives. However, I read an article in the Jewish Tablet today, http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/91289/women-chanting/, and it was an article about women laining.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see the importance of all people learning to chant Torah, especially women. The author of the article went on to describe a particular powerful auditory experience she had at shul as the sensation of hearing what the shekinah might sound like. I had a similar experience at my shul when one of the members at my congregation was laining. It was so beautiful it hurt. It was a great experience. When I get a chance to get some time, I, too want to learn to chant Torah.

    The Tablet article went on to talk about orthodox women’s tefilla groups where the entire services and chanting were run by women. I think I would be interested in attending and perhaps participating in an service like that. I can see the benefit to running groups like that.
    If I’m just hanging around in the background (at shul, mind you, which I can accept that it’s a male-space) anyway, I might as well go to my own service.

    I was surprised to hear a rather uncivilized and boorish tone regarding women and making kugel etc. However, the tzitzi’s dangling becoming toys for the children that followed mom in was pretty funny.

  • non1

    I commented earlier about how I was thinking women who don kippot and tefillin, etc, are yearning for more mitzvot when I think we have plenty else to do with our lives. However, I read an article in the Jewish Tablet today, http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/91289/women-chanting/, and it was an article about women laining.
    I was pleasantly surprised to see the importance of all people learning to chant Torah, especially women. The author of the article went on to describe a particular powerful auditory experience she had at shul as the sensation of hearing what the shekinah might sound like. I had a similar experience at my shul when one of the members at my congregation was laining. It was so beautiful it hurt. It was a great experience. When I get a chance to get some time, I, too want to learn to chant Torah.

    The Tablet article went on to talk about orthodox women’s tefilla groups where the entire services and chanting were run by women. I think I would be interested in attending and perhaps participating in an service like that. I can see the benefit to running groups like that.
    If I’m just hanging around in the background (at shul, mind you, which I can accept that it’s a male-space) anyway, I might as well go to my own service.

    I was surprised to hear a rather uncivilized and boorish tone regarding women and making kugel etc. However, the tzitzi’s dangling becoming toys for the children that followed mom in was pretty funny.

  • http://www.kissamezuzah.blogspot.com Susan

    Here’s a quote from a Mormon professor about why the Mormon church wouldn’t let black people be clergy. It sounds amazingly close to some of the excuses Jewish men use for why they don’t want women to be clergy:

    “What is discrimination?” Bott asks. “I think that is keeping something from somebody that would be a benefit for them, right? But what if it wouldn’t have been a benefit to them?” Bott says that the denial of the priesthood to blacks on Earth—although not in the afterlife—protected them from the lowest rungs of hell reserved for people who abuse their priesthood powers. “You couldn’t fall off the top of the ladder, because you weren’t on the top of the ladder. So, in reality the blacks not having the priesthood was the greatest blessing God could give them.”

    • Dan

      It doesn’t sound close at all. I have never heard anyone say that about women can’t become rabbis.

  • Anon

    Women are disgusting.

  • David

    I don’t doubt some of you (by the way you speak ill of women) will beat their wives if they see her step foot out of the kitchen for one second.

    Women are not disgusting. And just because she’s a ‘niddah’ doesn’t mean “OMG FILTHY HUMAN SLIIME!!!one”

    Funny.

  • No Trannies

    Welcome to the most depraved corner of the universe. Fail!