Last week United Torah Judaism lawmaker Meir Porush engaged in juvenile name-calling, attempting to put down Yamina MK Idit Silman by saying she was ‘acting like a little girl.’ That stunt occurred as MK Silman chaired the Knesset Arrangements Committee, a position of leadership in a key committee. A position she’s earned.
“Esteemed Colleague” is a meditation for men in politics on women in political power. It borrows, riffs, and rhymes from the phrase “nevertheless, she persisted,” which became a rallying cry (and a hashtag, #ShePersisted, and an organization for women in politics by the same name) after US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this in suppressing Senator Elizabeth Warren during a confirmation hearing: “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
The meditation closes with selected text from the traditional Jewish prayer for government. The Hebrew is from the Open Siddur Project, which was also used as the basis of the English translation, but with changes based on the text in the Nehalel Siddur.
Esteemed Colleague: A Meditation for Men on Women in Political Power
Do not call a woman in power
A ‘little girl.’
She is smarter than you,
She had to be.
Men like you –
And sometimes women –
Blocked her way
At every chance to cling to power.
She is persistent,
Resistant to your barbs,
Consistent in her wisdom,
Resilient in her vision,
Insistent that she be heard.
Do not call women in power
With your hatred and disdain.
We see the fear in your eyes
And the threat to your standing.
Use the titles that women in political power
Have earned and deserve,
Whether you mean it or not:
Member of Knesset,
Member of Parliament,
Member of Congress,
Do it for the sake of a healthy government.
Do it for your own dignity.
Do it for the generations to come.
הַנּוֹתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה לַמְּלָכִים
הוּא יְבָרֵךְ וְיִשְׁמוֹר
וִינַשֵּׂא לְמַֽעְלָה לְמַֽעְלָה
אֶת כָּל שָֹרֵי הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת
וּבָא לְצִיּוֹן גּוֹאֵל
וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן
May the one who awards salvation to sovereigns,
And governance to princes,
Bless and keep,
Preserve and support,
Elevate and empower,
And lift higher and higher
All the government officials of this country
and let the Redeemer come to Zion,
and so may it please God.
And let us say, Amen.
“Esteemed Colleague: A Meditation for Men on Women in Political Power” is © 2021 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.
Here’s a link to my prayer “For Government.”