Sisterhood Blog

Digest: Agunot Stats, Reading John Stuart Mill in Hebrew

By Beth Schwartzapfel

  • Print
  • Share Share

The Sisterhood Digest:

• In the spring of last year, Sara Hurwitz became the first Orthodox Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi. Sort of. Her mentor and teacher, Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, in the Bronx, didn’t call it an ordination; he called it a “conferral ceremony.” And he didn’t call her a rabbi, either; he called her a Maharat, a Hebrew acronym meaning “Leader in Jewish Law, Spiritual Matters, and Torah.” Now, Weiss and Hurwitz — who announced shortly after Hurwitz’s conferral ceremony that they were founding a new school to train Maharatot — say that the title just hasn’t stuck. Instead of Maharat, Hurwitz will now be known as rabbah. “This will make it clear to everyone that Sara Hurwitz is a full member of our rabbinic staff,” said a statement issued by Weiss’ office, “a rabbi with the additional quality of a distinct woman’s voice.”

Breaking the Silence, an organization that collects first-person stories of soldiers who served in the Palestinian territories during the Second Intifada, has released a new booklet of testimonies from women soldiers. In interviews with more than 50 women, the organization found that “the girls try to be even more violent and brutal than the boys,” the organization’s director Dana Golan told Ynet, “just to become one of the guys.”

• The Israeli Rabbinical Court system just released statistics for 2009: Last year, 162 women, (formerly agunot, or “chained” women) were “unchained” from their husbands. Under religious and Israeli law, women may not be granted divorce papers, or gittin (the singular is get) without their husbands’ permission. As Arutz Sheva reports reported, of the 162 uncooperative husbands, 22 were located by private investigators, and 44 suffered legal sanctions, such as a ban on their ability to get a driver’s license, before they relented.

• January 22 marked the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that paved the way for legal abortion in the United States. The same day, the trial of Scott Roeder — the man who in May walked into the church of Kansas late-term abortion provider George Tiller and shot him point-blank in the head — began. Roeder admitted to the killing in open court, but his lawyers argued that he should be convicted of voluntary manslaughter, because he held, what Kansas law calls “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.” Exactly one week after the trial began, the jury delivered its verdict, after only 37 minutes of deliberation: Roeder is guilty of first-degree murder and faces life in prison.

• The New Israel Fund this week launched a campaign to encourage haredi women to speak out against segregation and discrimination on buses and other public places. The left-leaning organization, which fights for the rights of non-Orthodox Jews and Arabs in Israel, helped to set up a blog and a hotline called Hashmi’eini, to allow women to call in with complaints. (The word, taken from a verse in the Song of Songs, means “make your voice heard to me.”) The Jerusalem Post quotes quotes one of the hotline’s managers as saying, “Since the hotline was launched this week, we have had six callers, five of them men, who have complained about various incidents.”

• Previews are now taking place in New York for MazelTov Cocktail, a one-woman show about “a Jewish woman as she juggles her job as a personal assistant, her cocaine-addicted (and recently jailed) brother and the neurotic parents who spawned them,” according to press materials. The show, at the McGinn/Cazale Theatre on the Upper West Side, officially opens February 3, and runs through the end of February.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sarah Hurwitz, Rabbah, Breaking the Silence, John Stuart Mill, Agunot

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.


Comments
Danny Sun. Jan 31, 2010

New Israel Fund has set up a hot line for Haredi women who have had problems on mehadrin buses. Perhaps they need a hotline for IDF women who have had to be more violent than their male counterparts to prove they are 'one of the guys'. Women soldiers are probably more traumatised than Haredi women who sit and chat on the back of the bus.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.