Thursday, January 11, 2007

Female Rabbis

First, can I just say that I hate female issues. I mean, I hate the fact that female issues are the big issues out there, that they're the ones that everyone discusses and so forth. It forces me to define myself primarily as a female and it gets the heck on my nerves.

But nonetheless, just one more post about the whole thing. (I can quit any time. Honestly, I can...) I've been rethinking my whole reticence in this post. I mean, everything I said still pertains, and I still hate the idea of being at the forefront of anything, but I am increasingly leaning towards my legal code theory more- that the religion is inherently flexible and formed by those who practice it- so that I sort of have the duty to "be the change I want to see." And all of the anger and rantiness that Miri expresses here are getting to me more and more. Just to clarify- I still don't want to be a rabbi, as such, but my support for those who do is growing, as is my annoyance at those who don't want them to be.

But in this particular case- as decisions may actually have impact on my daily life and practice in some degree- I would really appreciate it if as many readers as possible could attack my position as much as possible- because I think the best way for me to decide if I agree with the whole thing is to have to defend it, redefine it, reconsider it, and so forth, and for once it would be fun to do so without having already committed myself to a certain opinion and a certain manner of defending it. So please do comment- I'm counting on y'all.

Friday, January 05, 2007

The Education Controversy

As usual, I come rather late to this discussion, but that never stopped me before.

Here's the thing. It's not the sexism or close-mindedness of this decision that offends me. (Incidentally, it's probably more the latter than the former- they aren't all that crazy about higher education for men either.) Every community has every right to make decisions for themselves as a community, and I, as an outsider, have every right to keep my mouth shut and let them. So the fact that I find this decision theologically offensive, practically idiotic, and a personally annoying is not, strictly speaking relevant. And fairness obliges me to recognize that the decision was almost certainly motivated by noble and worthwhile, if misplaced, concerns and that all the people involved are almost certainly good, well-meaning people. And if it pains me to see the girls with whom I went to high school- good, brilliant, talented girls- believing that education and indeed most forms of thought are b'dieved, if not assur, still the respect I have for them as people and my theoretical faith in the whole tolerance thing obligates me to accept their decision, instead of dismissing them as brainwashed.

No, what makes me most angry about this decision is not what they are doing to their women, but what they are doing to my religion. See, my religion is a beautiful one. It loves and respects knowledge, idolizes truth, and considers women equally valuable human beings. It is full of strong, educated women and plenty of people who explore all areas of knowledge without getting hysterical or paranoid that they might ever hear a drop of a philosophy that does not perfectly match their own. And what these people are doing is not simply to themselves but to my religion. My religion has been hijacked by their close-mindedness and taken to strange and ugly countries that I and most of the other passengers had not interest in visiting.

Because that's what they're doing when they come out with these things- they are reshaping my religion into a new, more extremist form. And of course, we can oppose them, but it will require effort to get it back into its old form, effort that ought not be wasted on a giant game of tug-of-war just to keep my religion within the realms of sane. When they do these things, not only in the name of my religion, but claiming to be its only legitimate expression, they decide the course of my religion, in the eyes of a sadly large part of the world and even the Orthodox community.

And I don't like the face. Because my religion is not that. Is better than that. Does not deserve to become that.