Shoshanna Jaskoll writes a beautiful, heartfelt, impassioned lament and alarm for the destruction of what was once a wide spectrum of thought and observance within what was Orthodox Judaism. (If you think angry laments that cry for justice are beautiful, which I do).
I have been spat on and called a whore myself
I have stood beside a friend as she fought to be freed from a man she has not seen in years- her fate controlled by men she does not know
I have witnessed men telling women how they must dress
I have seen women telling other women how they must dress
I have seen women’s and girls’ faces blurred from magazines and ads
I have watched as females are completely removed from public signage
I have watched as women & girls were relegated to the back of the bus
I have heard from women being attacked for being where men didn’t want them to be
I have seen women arrested and jailed for wearing a tallit
I have seen women unable to accept awards for their own work in public
I have seen women banned from presenting their own research at a conference on fertility. (The rest is here )
This fundamentalist movement is pushing out more and more of ‘Modern” Orthodox Jews, who do not want to subjugate women.
I would say answer is to push back and be strong, to say “No – I will not follow any of the rulings of rabbis who treat women this way. I will not accept their Beit Din as valid. My sons and husband will not study at yishivot or schools or attend any shiuim where people who treat women this way are accepted. None of my tzedakah go to any institution who does not publicly come out against this. ” But I do not think this will happen. As the men won’t really go along with it.
The crux of the problem, for me, is that you will never be completely safe from this subjugation of women when your view of religion gives the decision-making power to men.
She writes at the end:
the Ladies, demand your rights. Men, be right there with us.
Those with power, elect Rabbanim and Dayanim that have true Torah knowledge, broad shoulders, humility, and respect.
Those with power in that list Rabbanim and Dayaim are exclusively men (or if we are giving leeway for the far left of the Orthodox spectrum, wildly predominately men) .
and THAT, fundamentally, is the problem.