Over the past year or so:
I have seen little girls spat on and called whores
I have been spat on and called a whore myself
I have stood beside a friend as she fought to be freed from a man she has not seen in years- her fate controlled by men she does not know
I have witnessed men telling women how they must dress
I have seen women telling other women how they must dress
I have seen women’s and girls’ faces blurred from magazines and ads
I have watched as females are completely removed from public signage
I have watched as women & girls were relegated to the back of the bus
I have heard from women being attacked for being where men didn’t want them to be
I have seen women arrested and jailed for wearing a tallit
I have seen women unable to accept awards for their own work in public
I have seen women banned from presenting their own research at a conference on fertility.
Before I’m written off as a ‘man-hater’, let me make this clear. I do not hate men. I love men. I love my husband, my father, my sons, my cousins and uncles. There are men I think of as heroes, men I socialize with and men I work with. Lots of men are great and have done lots of great things. Full stop. Clear?
That said. I am angry. I am sad. I am frightened. It is impossible to be a thinking, feeling, rational being who observes the world at large and not be.
There is a worrying and increasing trend, one that sets limitations on females: their dress, freedoms and choices within Judaism, what we can do and where we can do it. Our clothing is measured. Our desires to end marriages are not respected, our motivations are assessed, judged and ignored.
I cannot begin to understand how this is being allowed to happen.
It is not acceptable that my friend has to beg strangers for a divorce from a man who has not been a husband to her in over a decade. Unacceptable that she is left languishing with no one to turn to, no one responsive or responsible, left with no control over her own life.
It is unacceptable to know that if ‘get’ affected men they’d be as easy to attain as Viagra.
Where is the outrage? The compassion? The outcry? Hell, I’d settle for a little righteous indignation to get the job done, but where is it?
Where is the anger at the hijacking of a religion that has never been about persecution and suffering? Why do I have to fear for my daughters’ ability to live their lives in beauty and confidence?
I chose to be observant and accept the limitations Judaism sets out but I do not accept the current trend where Rabbis & tznius police think they are Gd and where women’s bodies and rights are being judged and controlled.
There are over 600 commandments that Judaism holds we are responsible for. Among them are:
Loving your fellow as yourself – Not telling her what to do.
Giving the benefit of the doubt – Not calling her a whore.
Watching your eyes – Not watching her sleeves.
Pursuing justice – Not perverting it.
Creating a just court system – Not making a mockery of one.
It was Channah who while praying at the mishkan with devotion and fervor was called a drunkard and told to leave by Eli the priest. And it was God who proved her worthy and true. In fact, we learn many laws of prayer from her example.
Here’s what I’m saying: Get out of our skirts, back off of our prayer, give us the freedom to leave a marriage that we don’t want.
Listen to us.
Rule according to God’s laws, not your own.
Be wise enough to recognize your true motivations and strong enough to resist temptation.
Ladies, demand your rights. Men, be right there with us.
Those with power, elect Rabbanim and Dayanim that have true Torah knowledge, broad shoulders, humility, and respect.
Realize that the more restrictions and barriers you put against women the more you will ultimately destroy the very thing you are so desperate to protect.