Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Three more things contemporary Orthodox Judaism needs to fix

As we enter Elul, etc, etc, here are some of the great suggestions you made for the list of things we need to change in our culture and community.

The Obsession with Tzinius (Ksil) Absolutely. We need to stop blaming everything up to and including sunspots (Dave Barry) on hemlines. Also, we need our schools to stop making our daughters feel like their sole worth as human beings depends on how successfully they cover up their elbows and knees. In 2012, woman don't dress like Polish peasants but they aren't running around starkers either. Cut them some slack! (Back in the glory days of antisemitism and oppression it was common even for small Polish girls to cover their heads to indicate their high moral character and lack of murderous tendencies. You can see what I mean in the "Good Bye Jews" clip made famous by Louis CK. That little girl would win student of the week at any Bes Yaakov, both because of how she's dressed and also because she's a close-minded obnoxious brat.

The Agunah Problem (Ksil) I don't know that this is really a problem. It seems to me all the multi-millionaire Jews have ways of working this out, and I've been educated to believe that only the multi-millionaire Jews matter.  This is also why I don't believe we have a tuition crises. 

The Marginalization of Women (Ken Zein) The problem isn't that men and women don't sit next to each other in shul. I think we can agree that the separation of sexes at prayer holds significance to some of us and is harmless in of itself. The problem is that women are treated like second class citizens in Orthodoxy, when they aren't being infantilized. You want examples? OK. How about Avi Shafran's vicious denouncement of any newspaper reporting on the Siyum Hashas that also made mention of women who learn? What about newspapers that won't publish female faces, or rabbis who won't name wives when congratulating a family from the pulpit? ("Chaim Beryl and his chashuvah wife") What about the fact that we've forgotten that women have a biblical obligation to pray twice each day, and the prerogative of making a zimun if three of them eat together? Not only don't we expect women to do this anymore, we denounce those who try! There's much more to say, but you get the idea.

More later. Feel free to continue submitting your beefs

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