by Rebecca Honig Friedman
Newlywed brides can wash their faces on Yom Kippur: “The Mishnah of Tractate Yoma, Chapter 8:1, has taught that on Yom Kippur, while one must not eat, drink, wash, anoint oneself, put on sandals, or have sexual intercourse, a bride, like a king, may wash her face so that her husband should not think ill of her.” Laws like this make me think the Talmudic rabbis had very low expectations of men. Since they were men, perhaps this should give us pause? [My Right Word].
The problem with the Chabad rabbi’s wife is that she reinforces traditional sex roles in the home to young and impressionable Jews, argues New Voices’ Josh Nathan-Kazis:
It should come as no surprise that at the Chabad house on a Friday night, the rabbi’s wife prepares the meal while the rabbi leads prayers and delivers a brief sermon, or that this arrangement trickles down to the experience of students who attend the dinner. …
Such a strict, institutionalized division between the role of the Jewish man and woman, with one toiling in the realm of prayer and the other in the kitchen, is anathema to the egalitarian ideals of the less traditional denominations.
Shaking as she recalled her brutal beating at the hands of Jewish ultra-Orthodox vigilantes, a 28-year-old Jerusalem woman who would only identify herself as M. said she feared for her life.
Some residents say the self-styled “modesty squads” are spreading terror among those seen as straying from the strict moral code demanded of the ultra-Orthodox in the more conservative neighbourhoods of the Holy City.
The gang allegedly gagged her, hit her, kicked her and said she would be killed if she did not move out of the ultra-Orthodox Maalot Dafna neighbourhood.
HuffPo has a more in-depyh story about this terrible phenomenon:
“…breaches of purity and modesty endanger our community,” said 38-year-old Elchanan Blau, defending the bearded, black-robed zealots. “If it takes fire to get them to stop, then so be it.”
A 17-year-old who moved to Israel from New York five years ago said she was hospitalized after being attacked with pepper spray by a crowd of men outraged that she was walking down a Jerusalem street with boys.
“They can burn in hell,” said the girl, who would identify herself only as Rivka.
Yitzhak Polack, a 50-year-old Jerusalem teacher, is one of those who deplore such behavior.
“They are stupid troublemakers who are bringing shame and disgrace on this holy community,” he said.
But the rabbis are afraid to condemn them, says Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, another community member.
“They can’t come out against zealots who champion modesty. Here and there they write against violence, but the militants ultimately set the tone,” he said.
Doctor scared away from preventing child abuse. This is an important story about which I wanted to write at more length but in case I don’t get to it:
A prominent Orthodox rabbi and psychologist has been intimidated into quitting as head of a just-formed task force dealing with rabbinic sex abuse of minors, organized by Assemblyman Dov Hikind this week.
Dr. Benzion Twerski told The Jewish Week Wednesday that he was quitting the task force because “I was prosecuted in the street for daring to join such a venture.”
[NY Jewish Week]
Dr. Twerski explains in his own words on Vos Iz Neias, and a friend of Twerski’s descries the community’s harrasment of Twerski here; hat tip: Town Crier]
Gloria Steinem to Americans: Palin’s no Clinton, don’t vote for her. Feminist Jewish Matriarch Gloria Steinem has this to say about John McCain’s choice of running mate:
Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton. Her down-home, divisive and deceptive speech did nothing to cosmeticize a Republican convention that has more than twice as many male delegates as female, a presidential candidate who is owned and operated by the right wing and a platform that opposes pretty much everything Clinton’s candidacy stood for — and that Barack Obama’s still does. To vote in protest for McCain/Palin would be like saying, “Somebody stole my shoes, so I’ll amputate my legs.”
Posted on October 5th, 2008 Filed under: Roundups |