On Feb. 28, 2012, 5 Adar, my entire world changed. My first child was born. My center of gravity moved out of myself and into that space that connects mother and child.
Laws of family purity and sex should be private, but can they be too private?
Although the official subtitle of last month’s London JOFA conference was “Reinforcing Tradition through Renewal,” what I took away from the day was a slightly different question: immersed as we are in a modern, metropolitan, even mundane existence, how do we maintain and increase kedushah, holiness, in our life?
There is a place for every man and woman in feminism. Furthermore, there is a place for every Jewish woman in feminism.
For those of us engaged in the lifelong passion and struggle of learning Torah with a feminist consciousness, writing it all off as yet another element of patriarchal religion is not an option. Baruch Hashem, Thank God.
An important aspect of spiritual leadership is ministering to people in times of stress and pain as chaplains do. Below is an “imagination verbatim” written during a summer hospital chaplaincy internship in the course of my rabbinical studies at Yeshivat Maharat. Writing this verbatim engaged and thrilled me as it was a perfect interweaving of my love of text study together with my practice of “being there” for others.
“Sarah” had a pretty average childhood, growing up in an Orthodox Jewish home in New York City with her mother, father and several siblings. She went to a Jewish school in her community and took part in local clubs and activities. All of this changed however, when “Sarah” became a victim of sex trafficking.
“Question authority!” was the mantra of my peer group when I was coming of age in the late ’60s. How that jibed with my evolving commitment to Orthodoxy was not something I questioned at first. I knew that Torah was the source of religious authority, because it came from God, and rabbis were the designated interpreters of Torah. The ordinary Jew could decide which rabbi or rabbis to turn to, and the ones I encountered were mostly modern, liberal, and pretty much on the same page as I was. Asking for a p’sak, a halakhic decision in response to a question, felt more like a consultation than an imposition of authority.
In my modern Orthodox co-ed day school, a certain event this week caused me to stop in my tracks. This post-exam activity, or should I say, activities, consisted of challah baking for the girls — and soccer for the boys.
She wore a kippah as she opened her gemara. We were a somewhat diverse group–I come from an Orthodox background, and found myself sitting around a table with women rabbis from across the Jewish spectrum. We spent two hours each week at the same dining room table gathering as a chabura, study group, to study gemara, Tractate Pesachim to be exact. Linda wore her kippah as she shared her perspective and understanding of Rashi, the medieval commentator, and the Tosafot, later medieval commentators. I was blessed to study with this learned group on a weekly basis. While our initial intention was to study, expand our knowledge and understanding and to keep our skills fresh, so much more was accomplished during this time.