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Thread: the role of women in judaism

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    the role of women in judaism

    i am a woman but i am not jewish. i do not belong to any faith at the moment as i am studying as many as possible before i accept one (or possibly none). if i were to convert to a faith system it behoves me to find out how i can expect to be treated or regarded.

    there is a jewish prayer i have heard that goes something like "thank you god for not making me a woman" (paraphrased i am sure )

    there is also the idea of women being unclean (or less clean) than men by virtue of menstruation etc.

    do jews consider women to be inferior, spiritually ethically or mentally, to men? can a woman become a rabbi? if so, on what basis should i accept this? if not, please clarify.

    thank you.

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by nlwright View Post
    i am a woman but i am not jewish. i do not belong to any faith at the moment as i am studying as many as possible before i accept one (or possibly none). if i were to convert to a faith system it behoves me to find out how i can expect to be treated or regarded.

    there is a jewish prayer i have heard that goes something like "thank you god for not making me a woman" (paraphrased i am sure )

    there is also the idea of women being unclean (or less clean) than men by virtue of menstruation etc.

    do jews consider women to be inferior, spiritually ethically or mentally, to men? can a woman become a rabbi? if so, on what basis should i accept this? if not, please clarify.

    thank you.

    The fact that you have to ask proves that we are correct..... now go to the back of the synagogue

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeinie View Post
    The fact that you have to ask proves that we are correct..... now go to the back of the synagogue
    Yeah and clean everyone's shoes while your out there.

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by oscar View Post
    Yeah and clean everyone's shoes while your out there.

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    i have to ask because i do not know. does anyone here know or am i just wasting my time? perhaps another forum might be better. how can i hope to get answers from jews or peoples of other faiths if those people are going to be ridiculed and antagonized into not wanting to be here?

    is this disrespectful treatment tolerated?

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by nlwright View Post
    i have to ask because i do not know. does anyone here know or am i just wasting my time? perhaps another forum might be better. how can i hope to get answers from jews or peoples of other faiths if those people are going to be ridiculed and antagonized into not wanting to be here?

    is this disrespectful treatment tolerated?
    I'm afraid our humour some-times over-rides our manners.
    I hope you get the answers you're looking for. There are some religeous posters here so i hope they can answer for you.

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    Quote Originally Posted by nlwright View Post
    i am a woman but i am not jewish. i do not belong to any faith at the moment as i am studying as many as possible before i accept one (or possibly none). if i were to convert to a faith system it behoves me to find out how i can expect to be treated or regarded.

    there is a jewish prayer i have heard that goes something like "thank you god for not making me a woman" (paraphrased i am sure )

    there is also the idea of women being unclean (or less clean) than men by virtue of menstruation etc.

    do jews consider women to be inferior, spiritually ethically or mentally, to men? can a woman become a rabbi? if so, on what basis should i accept this? if not, please clarify.

    thank you.
    Judaism like nearly all religions comes in many flavors. You can find sects that allow women to become a Rabbi and there are those who wouldn’t think of it.

    The reason a man would pray to God thanking God for not making him a woman is simply saying he is thankful God made him a man. Even though it isn’t okay in western culture, it is okay to be a man and you can even be happy that you are one. In spite of western culture I am thankful to God I was created a man and not a woman. If I was a woman I would say I was thankful I was created a woman.

    At the time the idea of women being unclean during menstruation the modern hygiene aids we have today were not available.

    In most sects of Judaism you will find women held in high esteem as you will in many traditional Christian sects. The confusion comes from trying to apply everyone’s values to those of today’s western culture. Men and women are different and they are respected for their differences in other cultures and religions in ways we don’t understand. You won’t find honor killings or the extreme physical abuse of women in Judaism that exists in some other religions.

    I'm sure there are others who can give you more insight. I hope this helps.
    Schooling results in matriculation. Education is a process that changes the learner.

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    i think that does help. i may have misunderstood because the prayer also includes thankfulness for not being a gentile and thankfulness for not being a slave. the prayer explicitly gives thanks for NOT being a woman. isn't that significant? why not just say "thank you for making me a man" and be done with it? why even mention women? furthermore why not be thankful for jewishness and thankful for freedom? it looks an awful lot like there is reason to be more thankful for avoiding these unlucky conditions than to be thankful for the conditions with which one is actually blessed. also i found out that this is a prayer intended to be said every morning to start the day. so this is some kind of daily affirmation.

    as far as women being considered "unclean" because of menstruation, there were many ancient cultures that regarded a woman's menstrual blood as magical and holy...bleeding without pain, cycles in tune with the moon cycles, creation of life etc. these cultures also did not have access to modern hygiene aids but they somehow revered women for menstruating. it seems to me that the idea of women being unclean at menstruation came from monotheistic, patriarchal religions. why those religions and not the older religions? i can't help but think this is a reflection of the attitude those religions have towards women.

    being a woman, it is difficult not to take such a statement personally. perhaps this is not a modern attitude of jewish faith. if not, is this prayer still said every day? are there sects of judaism that have rejected the notion of female uncleanliness or male superiority in a formal way? perhaps they are the same ones who allow female rabbis? i would like to learn more about them.

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

    Gentiles, slaves and women all have burdens to bear that a Jewish male would be thankful he doesn’t have. I’m very thankful for not having to go through the pain of bearing a child and I am also thankful I don't have to deal with menstruation. If I’m born a Jew, I’m very thankful I’m a Jew and not a Gentile as many who are born a gentile are thankful they aren’t Jews.
    Schooling results in matriculation. Education is a process that changes the learner.

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    Re: the role of women in judaism

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    conversely i feel blessed with menstruation, the natural cleansing of my body, which is a symbol of my ability (and not a man's) to bring forth new life. i feel blessed that i have felt new life stirring inside of me and being nourished by me. the pain of childbirth represents the rite of passage into motherhood, a most holy and blessed stage of life. also, childbirth pain is not as bad as many people would have you think (and as everyone told me). it is a useful pain that results in the beauty of new life, making that life even more sacred and cherished because of the sacrifice made for it. i am special and honoured because i am a woman and a mother.

    yet, if i were a jewish woman i, and everything i touch, would be considered unclean for the act of childbirth, and doubly so if i should give birth to a girl-child who will ultimately be able to bring forth the blessing of new life. the blood i bleed is responsible for all of human existence and yet it is considered "unclean". why is woman's blood, the blood of life, unclean but a man's blood is not?

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