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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Feminist Judaism

I had such a surreal experience at my Hebrew class this week. A page in the book presented various translations of the Sh'ma, and for some reason, the teacher, a woman in her 20s working on her PhD at Syracuse, felt compelled to tell us that she doesn't like the gender neutral language that many modern prayer books have adopted.  In response, a classmate, who is highly educated and maybe 40 years old, said that she prefers the "masculine language." I was completely nonplussed.  I spent so many years with Jewish feminists, throughout my 20s and 30s.   In fact, I would credit them with maintaining my connection to Judaism during that time - without them, I would have felt no connection at all and I would have left Judaism, probably replacing  religious practice with, well, nothing.  To hear women, women younger than myself, casually reject something that has been so very important to me, was sort of jarring.  I didn't say anything at the time, because what's the point - it's not going to change their perspective and it's not going to make me feel any better.  But I left the class feeling out of sorts and rather sad.

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