Posted by: Leah | December 27, 2011

Decision Making and Girl Power

While Tanya Rosenblitt and Co are fighting for women’s right in Israel, or at least for a right to sit on the bus wherever you want, why don’t we talk about North America.

It looks like we are doing great: no segregation on buses, no guys spitting on you but in reality – do women have any power in North American synagogues?

You are going to tell me – come on now, Leah, of course! Women can read the Torah!!! Women can lead the prayer! Women can be rabbis! (in certain denominations of course) Women can be synagogue presidents!

All true. I think things are even better in Reform congregations, but Masorti – not so much. Yes, women can participate in the ritual life, but in most cases women are not decision makers. More to that, I see over and over again ladies getting married, wearing a hat and something black and moving to sit at the back, then they get pregnant and have no time for anything at all – you get the pattern, right? When kids are at school, they join sisterhood and attend craft nights, girls night out (for some reason in shul – this is not out! this is in!), and bakeathons. All very solid activities. I am not feeling girl power though.

I think Masorti North America also has a long way to go to embrace women’s participation in synagogues. Yes, we don’t have horrific cases of abuse and segregation, but we are not strong either.

Ladies, we can do it 🙂


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