Repair the World selected this blog as one of the four Jewish Women's blogs that are changing the world..... That is SO COOL!!
I love Repair the World, by the way. They do awesome things around the world and help advance social activism and social change. You should check them out
The Israeli media loves International Women's Day so much that they put women on the covers -- even in the business sections -- and have lots of advertisements for perfume and other things that will "make women in you life feel special". Yediot even blasts the exciting news that "Women are writing Yediot" for this special edition. This, of course, points out the problem with International Women's Day: There are 364 other days of the year when women ought to be writing and being featured for their work.... Perhaps more than a bottle of perfume, women would prefer equal pay for our work and for our writing to be featured regularly as regular staff, not just as a special "women's thing".
So here are some sobering statistics about women in business and leadership in honor of Women's Day:
* Out of the top 100 publically-traded companies in Israel, only 8 are headed by women (8%). Of the top 500 largest companies, 27 are headed by women (5.5%)
* 89% of Boards of public companies have women on them -- sounds like progress? Well, put it this way: 11% of boards are are all-male. In total, only 17% of board members of the top 100 companies are women
* Of the top 500 companies, only 22 (5%) have more than a quarter women on the Board of Directors
* Only 2% of Boards have women at the helm
* The entire financial industry has 19% of women in managerial positions
* In Israeli-government owned companies, only 7% of managers are women
* In Israeli hospitals, twice as many male doctors than female doctore have senior positions
* Of the 19 Israeli billionaires, only one is a woman (Shari Aroson). These billionaires, by the way, own about 60% of the GDP of Israel.
* Only 9% of women in Israel are satisfied with their salaries.
Yeah.... forget the perfume. And forget the celebrations. All these media moguls are patting themselves on the back thinking that they've done a great thing by having women writers and women on the cover one day a year. There are 364 other days a year, and still a long way to go before we can really break out the champaign for Women's Day.
Adina Bar Shalom, the oldest daughter of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, founder of the Haredi College in Jerusalem that has 1000 students – mostly women – gaining professional skills to enter the Israeli workforce, writes in today’s Yediot about the quiet feminist revolution taking place in the haredi community. Here is my English translation of her column:
Every woman has a natural, quiet strength. So, too with haredi women, who have to be very strong in order to deal with life’s challenges. As such, she is able to grapple with the roughest problems and come out empowered. Anyone who is capable of living in “normal” society, going out to work, while maintaining the strict as well as the lenient [of Judaism] is a hero.
The haredi feminist is different from the secular feminism. Even though she doesn’t use the term “feminist”, she definitely wants equal rights, but as long as it does not contradict the Torah. A haredi woman is not interested in competing with her husband about anything, just to prove that they are equal. There are things that he is better at, and there are things that she is better at. Just like an expert in biology would not argue with an expert in chemistry, and vice versa.
Haredi society is in a very good place today, and progress has reached us as well, and helps us. The gates are already opened, and progress cannot be halted – for better and for worse. Our challenge is to maintain boundaries with open gates. Today, whoever wants to can learn anything. In the past, there were no frameworks or appropriate tools for haredi students – so we didn’t go [to college, presumably -- EMS]. Today, there are haredi frameworks everywhere. True, we are still at the beginning of the road and there are still uncertainties and we don’t always know what’s for us and how to choose. But this train has already left the station.
Personally, I am very happy when people who go out to get a secular education choose the academic route rather than professional training, since the academic route brings greater success as well as intellectual development. I certainly want to see haredi intellectuals. Why not? Why shouldn’t haredim lead in academia? I anticipate that in ten years’ time, the lecturers in the haredi (and even non-haredi) institutions will be haredi scientists, researchers and deans -- haredi men and women. Some of us have to sit in the world of Torah, to look for new interpretations and to write and to lead the people. But even those who are unable to do that in the world of Torah – I would like to see them do that in the life of this world [as opposed to the life of the World to Come -- EMS].
Collaboration between these two worlds will bring partnership in all areas. When we will have haredi scientists, haredi business owners, and haredi hi-tech endeavors, this collaboration will be a victory in all...
תקציר בעברית של הפרק השלישי בספר:
Chaya Rosenfeld Gorsetman and Elana Maryles Sztokman, Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools. (Hadassah Brandeis Institute 2012)
תקציר זה נכתב ע"י ד"ר אילנה סטוקמן
הסוגיה של חינוך נפרד לבנים ובנות לעומת חינוך מעורב תפסה תאוצה בקהילה היהודית-דתית באמצע המאה הקודמת, כאשר הרב יוסף סולוביצ'יק החליט שעל מנת להשתלב בחיים המודרניים, בית הספר שלו – בי"ס רמב"ם בבוסטון – יהיה מעורב. בתי ספר יהודיים-דתיים רבים הלכו בעקבותיו, וכך נולד הרעיון שחינוך מעורב פירושו יותר "עכשווי-מודרני" ודהיינו פחות דתי, ומאידך, שחינוך נפרד משמעותו חינוך יותר אדוק ונאמן לעקרונות התורה. על אף שרעיונות אלה לא התבססו במחקר – הרי לא ידוע אז ולא ידוע היום אם באמת קיים קשר מוכח בין חינוך נפרד לנאמנות לתורה – האשליה הזאת שלפיה הפרדה מינית משמעותה מסגרת יותר "דתית" תפסה יותר ויותר מקום בתודעה הדתית לאורך השנים.
בינתיים, בעולם הרחב, מחקרים חינוכיים ומדיניות חינוכית התחילו ללכת בכיוון הפוך. בשנות ה-70, סדרה של מחקרים הצביעו על תופעה אחרת בחינוך נפרד. הסתבר שכשנשים למדו במסגרות חד-מיניות, הן הפכו דווקא ליותר "מודרניות" – יותר קרייריסטיות, יותר חזקות, יותר למדניות, יותר עוצמתיות, יותר שאפתניות. התברר שבכיתות מעורבות, הרבה פעמים יש בעיה שבנים נהיים דומיננטיים, במיוחד במקצועות הטכנולוגיים ובספורט, והדבר מקשה מאוד על בנות להצליח במקומות כאלה. האפליה נגד בנות בכיתות מעורבות בתחומי המתמטיקה והמדעים הולכת ומחמירה לאורך השנים בבית ספר. כלומר, אם בכיתה א' קיים בעצם שוויון בין המינים, הפערים הולכים וגדלים בכל שנה. זה ממשיך גם באוניברסיטה, כך שהפערים הכי גדולים בין בנים ובנות בתחומי הטכנולוגיה נמצאים בקרב דוקטורנטים. וכמובן שדבר זה משפיע מאוד על היעדר נשים בקריירות טכנולוגיות. לעומת זאת, בכיתה של בנות בלבד, יש לבנות יותר הזדמנויות. הכל פתוח עבורן.
נמצא, אפוא, שמבחינת חינוך לבנות, ישנן סיבות מעניינות לקדם חינוך נפרד: העצמת נשים, קידום נשים במדעים, ושמירת נשים מדומיננטיות ואגרסיביות גברית.
לגבי בנים, חינוך נפרד יכול גם לפתוח אותם למישורים שנחשבים "נשיים" במסגרות מעורבות. במסגרות מעורבות, כמו שמדעים הרבה פעמים סגורים לבנות, כך גם מקצועות "עדינים" נסגרים לבנים – אומנות, שירה, ריקוד, ועוד. כלומר, לאו דווקא יש מקום במסגרות כאלה לבנים להיות רגישים, עדינים, אכפתיים, רכים, או אומנותיים. בחור שכותב שירה, שאוהב לטפל בילדים, שלא אוהב מדע, וכו', יכול למצוא את עצמו במצב קשה – כמו הבחורה החזקה והספורטיבית שאוהבת לטפל במכוניות או לבנות ערים שלמות מלגו. היתרון של המסגרת החד-מינית יכול להתבטא בכך שבמקומות כאלה יש לכולם גישה להכל – רק בבית ספר לבנות, שיעור הפיזיקה יתמלא בבנות; כמו כן, יכול להיות שרק בבית ספר לבנים, הבנים יעשו את כל התפאורה להצגה.
ברם, גם זה לא כל הסיפור. בשנות ה-90, סדרה של מחקרים התחילו לפקפק בממצאים הללו. אמנם במצבים מסוימים ישנו יתרון לנשים ובנות בהקשרים חד-מיניים, אבל במצבים אחרים ישנו יתרון דווקא במסגרות מעורבות. בכיתות מעורבות, מסתבר שגם בנים וגם בנות יכולים ללמוד להתמודד עם מצבים מאתגרים ושונים, כאשר לפעמים בוגרי מסגרות חד-מיניות מתקשים כשמגיעים ל"עולם האמיתי". בנוסף, בריונות קיימת גם במסגרות חד-מיניות. זה שאין בנים לא אומר שבנות "שמורות" מפני פגיעה. אלימות קיימת במקומות כאלה וכאלה.
לאחר חקירה נוספת, נמצא שישנם שני סוגי מסגרות חד-מיניות: מסגרות מעצימות ומסגרות מחלישות. ישנן מסגרות חד-מיניות שבהן בוגרים נחשפים...
Are you trying to make sense of all the talk and conflicting research about single-sex versus coeducation? Here's something to help you: A SPECIAL EXCERPT from Educating in the Divine Image -- the entire chapter on the subject of single-sex versus coeducation. Download the FREE chapter here
And please share your thoughts and reactions in the comments section below or on the Facebook page.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD Chapter 3 of Educating in the Divine Image: Single-sex verus Coeducation.pdf
Click here to purchase your own copy of Educating in the Divine Image...
One day several years ago, I walked into my year-7 Jewish Studies class with a shofar in hand. It was a few days before Rosh Hashana and it seemed like a great idea to engage students in the holiday practices by giving them all a chance to hold, feel, and try to blow a shofar on their own. When I walked into the class, however, I was in for a shock. As soon as the shofar got passed to a girl, some of the boys in the class began yelling. “She can’t touch that!” they asserted. “Girls are not allowed to touch a shofar!” It took me a good half of the lesson to reason with them and explain to the class, even though almost all of them are not religious (not even the boys arguing with me) that there is nothing wrong with girls and women touching or holding a shofar. Since they had never in their lives actually seen a woman blow shofar, they simply assumed that such a thing was expressly forbidden, at all times and under all circumstances. Gender exclusion from Jewish ritual became the assumed correct norm, regardless of their own practice. So what was meant to be a fun and innocuous lesson for the New Year ended up being a battle to help some students unlearn everything they had been taught about gender and Jewish life.
We are all filled with assumptions – conscious or otherwise – about correct gender behavior. Ideas about how women/girls and men/boys are meant to act are transmitted from the earliest of ages. Abundant research over the past 20 years has shown that people talk differently to boys and to girls. We tend to applaud boys for being innovative and adventurous while we praise girls for being sweet, caring and helpful. We abide boys boisterousness under the catch-all motto that “boys will be boys” while we castigate girls for much of the same acts. In schools, these practices are exacerbated. In class, boys are called on more often than girls; boys are given more response time than girls; teachers look at their watches more when girls are talking; boys are allowed to interrupt more, including interrupting the teacher and interrupting girls; boys dominate small group work, science labs, computer rooms, chess clubs, and more. It’s as if schools unintentionally promote two different models of an ideal graduate, one for boys and one for girls. Certainly no school would ever say that out loud, but we all know the power of the hidden curriculum. Sometimes the unintended messages are the most powerful of all.
READ THE REST AT GALUS AUSTRALIS
“How to reduce an outstanding professional woman to a sex object.”
That should have been the headline of the article in this week’s Forward which Tuvia Tenenbom interviewed Racheli Ibenboim, an up-and-coming Jerusalem politician who happens to be a Ger hassid. It was supposed to be a profile, but the leering interviewer apparently could not contain himself and it turned into an embarrassing and intrusive peep show.
Before explaining why this interview represented the slimiest element of voyeuristic journalism bordering on sexual harassment, I would just like to tell you who Racheli Ibenboim is. I feel that need to describe her as a person because Tenenbom, in what was meant to be a profile of her, completely neglected to do so.
Racheli Ibenboim is a 28-year-old executive director of the Meir Panim charity organization that, among other things, runs soup kitchens providing over a million meals a year to the needy and homeless. This is a huge operation with a NIS 40 million annual budget. I would have been really interested to hear about her work and her views about issues such as, say, poverty in Israel, social activism, or how she came to be a leader at such a young age.
In case this isn’t a big enough task, Ibenboim ran for the Jerusalem municipal council last year, number three on the Jerusalem Home party list. This is particularly impressive considering that in all of Israel there is apparently only one haredi woman currently sitting on a municipal council – Shira Gergi in Safed – and in fact women generally have only around 15% representation on municipal councils and less than 2% representation in positions of leadership in local politics. So even though she did not actually make it into the council, she is clearly on the path of breaking barriers. To wit, the haredi community must know that Ibenboim is a force of nature because she received a series of threats to pressure her to pull out of the race – yes, actual threats to her person and her family, threats of “excommunication” which is a big deal in the religious world. So she pulled out. Can’t say I blame her.
Her election campaign would have been an interesting topic to ask her about as well: How does a haredi woman decide to break convention and run for political office? And how do you grapple with real threats like that? What insights do you have about the future of Israel and the dynamics of religious power in politics? I would have loved to hear a real interview exploring some of these issues. These are actual stories.
But that’s not what we got. Instead, we had this Tenenbom guy (Who is he anyway? Why do we even allow creeps like this to even be in the same room as powerhouses like Ibenboim?), who could not get past sex. Over and over again he asked her about her sex life, about her wedding night, about “technicalities”. Ew, ew, and ew. Tenenbom,...
There is a rumor going around that Orthodox feminists are just Conservative Jews in disguise, or perhaps in denial.
I’ve heard this idea in many settings. I was at a dinner last year honoring Jewish feminists when a woman at my table — a Conservative rabbi and prolific writer whom I greatly admire — reproached me. “Why do all you Orthodox feminists think that what you’re doing is so amazing?” she demanded. “The women in the Conservative movement have been fighting these battles for 40 years. You are just barely catching up.” Last month, my dear friend Hillary Gordon echoed similar sentiments in a blog post she wrote about my recent book event in Jerusalem. “Why can’t the Orthodox recognize that other women have come before them and fought the same fight?” she asks. “Why is it that because it was done by Conservative or Reform Jewish women it is not legitimate according to the Orthodox?” Almost the exact same line appeared a couple of weeks ago in the comment section of Frimet Goldberger’s blog post about Orthodox feminists. Frimet dared to write that Conservative Judaism is not an option for her, to which a commenter replied, “Do I detect some judgementalism in those words?? ….Is there a suggestion here that the Conservative observance of Shabbat is less ‘full’ or somewhat deficient from the more authentic Orthodox one??”
Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/#story-1#ixzz2tkoqSCyl...
הנכם מוזמנים לערב עיון בנושא:
מגדר וחינוך דתי
תפילה, לימוד תורה, צניעות, מנהיגות, ועוד
עם ד"ר אילנה סטוקמן
Educating in the Diving Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools
National Jewish Book Award 2013
הערב יתקיים בבית משפחת ברדוגו
מבוא הדס 10
ביום שני 17.2.14
אור ליח' אדר א'
Or: How to feel good about ourselves and about our bodies: Things they didn’t teach us at the Ulpana
By Tiferet Shacham
Translated from Hebrew by Elana Maryles Sztokman
I decided to address this letter to girls, since I myself am a girl who learned in Ulpana (religious girls’ high school in Israel –EMS), along with other girls. However, I believe that boys who are graduates of the yeshiva high schools might also find this interesting.
I’ll preface this by saying that I have no intention of minimizing the importance of keeping the commandment of negiya (“touch” – the practice of not touching members of the opposite sex at all – EMS) and the commandment of modesty. I myself kept the commandment of negiya while I was at the Ulpana and I decided to continue that practice. However, from my experience, prohibitions and religious laws have already been discussed with you ad nauseum, along with a zillion reasons to keep negiya. Therefore, I will discuss things that they don’t teach you in homeroom class or in the course on “Family”.
One last point of introduction: There is a problem generally with the topic of positive sexuality. There are problems in our society and our culture in every social sector. These problems will obviously surface in the religious sector as well. It’s reasonable to think that in certain sectors, certain phenomena will be influenced by that sector’s particular value system, and it is reasonable to have this kind of discussion using the language and jargon of the sector. I certainly do not mean to imply that these problems belong only to the religious sector, or even that they are more common in the religious sector. Also, Jewish religion and law are not the source of these problems. Please do not read this as an attack on a particular sector or on halakha itself. Moreover, even if you are not an Ulpana graduate yourself, there might be some helpful insights here for you as well.
Don’t worry: You’re completely normal
Sexuality is an important and healthy part of human life. You don’t have to be sexually active in order to feel comfortable with your sexuality. As in every area of life, everyone is different when it comes to their sexuality. There are those who don’t feel any kind of sexual attraction; there are those who think about it all day; there are those in between; there are those for whom it comes in time, later in life, or in cycles. It doesn’t matter what your sexuality is like. Know that it’s normal. There is nothing wrong with what you feel or don’t feel sexually.
Moreover, most of adolescence is marked by sexual confusion, and what you felt yesterday will likely be different from what you feel today. That’s okay too. Do not rush to label yourself. Be curious. Again, in order to be curious and to know yourself and your sexuality, there is no need to be sexually active. It’s important first to...