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☞   Egalitarianism & Feminism

פורים | Purim: Esther’s Global Leadership Proposal, by Dr. Bonna Devora Haberman

What are the inner workings of such an intricately crafted story that it devolves into so much gratuitous violence at the end? Haman’s racism follows imminently upon the heels of the king’s sexism. Indeed, the root of Haman’s wrath against Mordekhai and the Jews parallels the king’s fury against Vashti and the women. Both Vashti and Mordekhai refused to submit to degradation before authority. Disdain for and subordination of women are pre-conditions for the progression toward violent evils that threaten to prevail under the jester-king. One of the fundaments of feminism is that until we fix the basic gender dyad, there will be no resolution of other derivative inequalities, prejudices, and abuses—at personal, ethnic, national, and global levels. Core relationships between woman and man must embody mutual respect, dignity, and equality in our humanity. . . .

Feminist Influences on Jewish Liturgy: The Case of Israeli Reform Prayer (2009)

In Israel, the Reform movement, which is called the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ), dates back to the 1950s, but a serious concern for women’s role in liturgy is a relatively recent development, namely since the last decade of the 20st century. This paper examines the modes of liturgical change with regard to the role and presentation of women in Jewish ritual and worship within Israel: what they do to regain their voice[s] through worship and how they are depicted in contemporary liturgies. Today, gender-related issues are among the most heated issues faced by contemporary liberal, non-Orthodox Jews; discussions on the subject dominate the religious and academic spheres as well as the socio-cultural arena. This paper is based upon the assumption that the Israeli case is a distinct one compared to the North American treatment of gender in the liturgy, because Hebrew is not only the liturgical language, but also the vernacular for Israeli Jews. This makes it much harder to change liturgy, as it is perceived as holy matter. Another unique aspect of the Israeli liberal liturgy is the fact that it operates in a rather conservative religious environment: both Orthodox and secular Jews in Israel are less prone to experimental approaches toward liturgy and ritual. . . .

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