This Week's Torah Portion: Pinchas

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Jrosemary
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Post #11

Post by Jrosemary »

cnorman18 wrote:By today's standards, Orthodox Judaism is repressive of women and limits their rights and independence . . .
I don't agree. Look, I'm no fan of Orthodoxy, but the Orthodox women of today's world are Orthodox by choice. Any one of them can toss the frum clothes and head for a Reform shul or change religions or live a totally secular life. One friend of mine did just that--it was a gut-wrenching choice for her, to leave the community she grew up in, but she knew it wasn't for her. She's happily secular now, and warming to Reform Judaism.

And another friend of mine left secularity for Orthodox Judaism--and she's quite happy being Orthodox, thank you very much. She does not feel repressed and her rights haven't been trampled. How could they be? She's a U.S. citizen. Even if you're Orthodox in Jerusalem there's nothing to stop you from taking the next bus to Tel Aviv.

Orthodox Judaism isn't egalitarian--no doubt about that. But the women who want it to be--or want it to be to a greater extent--either join the Orthodox feminist movement or join another branch of Judaism. So I don't view Orthodox women as "repressed" or as having "trampled rights." They're just women who have made different choices than I have.

cnorman18

This Week's Torah Portion: Pinchas

Post #12

Post by cnorman18 »

Jrosemary wrote:
cnorman18 wrote:By today's standards, Orthodox Judaism is repressive of women and limits their rights and independence . . .
I don't agree. Look, I'm no fan of Orthodoxy, but the Orthodox women of today's world are Orthodox by choice. Any one of them can toss the frum clothes and head for a Reform shul or change religions or live a totally secular life. One friend of mine did just that--it was a gut-wrenching choice for her, to leave the community she grew up in, but she knew it wasn't for her. She's happily secular now, and warming to Reform Judaism.

And another friend of mine left secularity for Orthodox Judaism--and she's quite happy being Orthodox, thank you very much. She does not feel repressed and her rights haven't been trampled. How could they be? She's a U.S. citizen. Even if you're Orthodox in Jerusalem there's nothing to stop you from taking the next bus to Tel Aviv.

Orthodox Judaism isn't egalitarian--no doubt about that. But the women who want it to be--or want it to be to a greater extent--either join the Orthodox feminist movement or join another branch of Judaism. So I don't view Orthodox women as "repressed" or as having "trampled rights." They're just women who have made different choices than I have.
I hear what you're saying, and I agree that anyone has the right to walk away; but you would admit that those who DO walk away do so for good and sufficient reasons, right? As I see it, those reasons would probably include the sharply defined and limited roles that women hold in Orthodox communities. If a woman chooses to be so limited - I admit that perhaps "repressed" was a poor choice of word - she has that right, but that willing choice doesn't remove those limits or make them acceptable to women who don't choose to abide by them.

A monastic community is peopled by men who freely choose to be there; but they also choose a sharply limited existence, and freely choose to be restricted by the Rule of their order. The situation seems to me similar.

My point was that by today's standards, as I said, the role of Orthodox women is very restrictive and essentially second-class, taking a back seat to the men; but by the standards of the ancient world, they were astonishingly liberated with recognition of their actual status as humans, with the right to own property and make their own decisions. Women in other cultures were cattle.

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