Judaism Family Life and Gender


Jewish Home

'Rabbis taught that the home to it as mikdah me'at' - Lyon - 'synagogues, study houses and even homes are called mikdash me'at - a small temple' Sinclair

Robinson suggest that the role of the home and synagogue both changed after the destruction of the temple - 'the jewish home is the place wher children, adolescents, and even young adults receive their most important train in "jewishness"'

When a jwesih perosn moves into a new home - dwelling undergoes consercration - 'chanuakat habayit' central ritual being the afficing of a mezuzah to the doorpost

Prophet Ezekiel - Gods presence remains with the jewish people in the home in whichever place they find themselves - at shabbat the candles that are lit on a menorah recall the lighting of the candels in the temple

Kiddush recited over wine prior to the evening meal on shabbat - alos said on passover and rosh hasnnah - blessing on feed through kikat hamazon - act of eating becomes holy - Haggadah read at seder meals - Sukkot it is customary to commorate the trek of the isrealites by building a sukkah against the wall of the house and living there for the week - burning of the menorah - festivals within the home

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Jewish Home Family Life

Within the home - family life - festival meal takes place at home on the friday night after the birth 0 bar mitzvahs and bat mitvahs and b'nei mitzavah occasiona are times of festivity in the home

when someone dayings there is many vistors at the home - pay respects at shiva - minyan recites the morning and evening prayer

Rasing of a family is sacred - 'children are the Jew's greatest treasure and blessing'  Trepp - Tanakh says 'teach a child how he should live and he will remember it all his life 'They guarentee both the physical and spiritual survival of Judaism'

Children expected to honour and respect their parents

Cohn-Sherbocl highlights the fact that the jewish tradition teaches that domestic harmony is the ideal of home life - talmud ' mor than his means in honouring wife and children because they are dependent on him

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Role of Women in terms of Family life

In orthodox jewoish families there are distnct roles for men and women - primary duty of the man in a family is to take care of his wife - signing the ketubah at their wedding 0 ensures that he will support his wife 'even if i have to sell the coat from off my bacl' - means that the wife will recieve maitence shuld they divorce or the husband should die- The father is expected to ensure that his son is circumcised

Orthodx Judaism - role of the wife is to bear children and take responisble - life of a jewish woman centred toally around the home - halakahab womanhood is a seperate staus with its own set of rule - Hasidic movement - roles of men and women continue to be sharply defined - men required to pray daily in a minyan

Cohn- Sherbok notes that 'in terms of relgious obsevance women were exlcuded from the study of the torah'

Reform Judaism is totally committed to gender equality - see woman's role in the family as a privelege - authority is given to the morther - through her the children are brought up

Traditionally it is the mother who prepares kosher meals and prepares for festivalas and shabbat

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Role of women - Feminism

Orthodox women - marginalised in rleigous public life - men and women seated separely within the synagogue - they cannot read from the torah scroll from the reading desk

women pray in the synagogue at specfic times but is not obliged to - laws on modestry - women cannot be a rabbi or cantor

Robinson - some mitzvot only for women - positve commandments - lighting shabbat candles, taking challah and keeping the laws of ritual purity -women in an orthdox shul are invisible to men'

Don't lack equlaity but instead have different roles

all all groups that retained the tradition male.female roles within orthodx communities - reform movement - women have been able to be rabbis in britian since 1975 - Development of the jewish feminist movement  - Plaskov - Jewish women are rediscoving elements of worship - ceremonies for the festival of rosh chodesh - women's holiday - tradionally stop their work early and meet together to study and celebrate- creation of litgury for the birth cremonies of girls ' celebrate the value of daughters, welcoming them into society - havurah movement has allowed jewish women to be more active in worship adn education - blu green berg believes that Orthodox communities will eventually ordain women as rabbis

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Divorce - husband gets the right to divorce his wife through a bill of divorce knwon as get- non reciprocal attangements - orthodox jews will only allow a man to divorce his wife not vise versa.

wjfe whos husband refuses to give her a divroce and then she is unable to leave - or if a husband disappears but is not knwon to have died, his wife cannot divorce him - chained wife or agundah

Inequality - divorce as a civil matter rather than a religious one - conservative movement has found a solution by inserting a clause into the ketubah which states that a husbnd who dispears over a period of years - allow to divorce

reform jews follow a tlamudic principle - the law of the land is the law - secular version of the law

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Judith Plaskow

First jewish feminist to identify herself as a theologian - wrote standing at sinai

'women excluded from prayer and study, women are exlcuded heart and soul of tradtional Judaism' - felt distance from judaism because she was unable to pray in the same way men do

Jewish identity developing in parallel to feminist identity

inhernt problesm with tradional images of god - new publications from within jewish groups that refelct and value the feminie perspectives

Cogn describes how new jewish rituals sucha s women's sedars and wlcoming ceremonies for baby girls have become more mainstream - more of an active role forming within orthodox communities such as partnership minyanim

'the underlying maleness of the dominant jewish picture of god'

'feminism is a process of coming to affirm outselves as women - and seeing that affirmation mirrored in religious and social instituions'

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Margret Wenig

addressed the centrality of the male image for God in jewish tradition - Wenig wrote a feminist version of the Sabbath prayer book that referred to God through out using female pronouns and imagery - Siddur Nashim

'Blessed is She whose womb covers the earth'

Plaskow on Wenig - 'the tradition deity in femine garb and partly a more thorughly trandformed divinity' - 'it does not address the nature of God as a dominating Other'

Wenig - openly gay woman - odaned as a rabbi in 1984 - wrote a resolution that there should committe on 'homosexuality and that rabbiniate' -> caused a report in 1990 that 'all rabbis regarless of sexual orientation should be accorded to opportunity to fuldilled the sacred vocation they have chosen' - rattified by the central conference of American Rabbis

Well known sermon in 1990 - 'God is a woman and she is growing older' - ' we avoid going home to protect ourselves from her disappointment and to protect her'

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