Monday, February 11, 2013

Sexism and Judaism

Today in Jerusalem, ten women were arrested for wearing tallit at the Kotel (prayer shawls at the Western Wall.) I'm not a personal fan of wearing a tallis. It just doesn't work for me. But the notion that there is a god who cares whether or not women wear them offends me anyway.

I feel like the men who made this law and the men who reported these women and the men who arrested these women didn't have parents who said to them, "Worry about yourself!" Because that's how prayer should be. You want to pray at the Wall? Fine. Go ahead. You want to wear a shawl and a hat? Go crazy. But why are you looking at the women on the other side of the divider? That divider is there so you won't be distracted by lustful thoughts while you're praying. Instead, you're looking at the women to make sure they're not praying the same way you are, because if they do that, God will get mad.


How can you believe in a god like that and still feel like life is worth living? If your god cares more about what someone is wearing while they pray than how that person conducts her life, you need to find another god. If your god is offended because women want to observe more laws than they have to, because women are doing the same kind of work you are doing to become closer to the same god you are allegedly worshipping, there is a problem, and it's not the women.

Rules like that--rules that say this person can pray and that person cannot--are proof that your religion was written by people. People have an interest in raising one group over another. Men have benefited from this arrangement, where men get to pray and study and women raise children and earn money to support the family, for centuries.

Behavior like this, that divides one group of Jews from another, just serves to weaken us all. We look worse to the International Community, we look foolish to anyone who can think logically, and you lose support from the millions of progressive Jews who live around the world.

All so you can keep your little corner to yourselves.

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