Aliza Lipkin

Girlilla warfare

That yeshiva where a rabbi teaches 'women are nothing'? It must do more than apologize
Rabbi Yosef Kelner (YouTube screenshot)
Rabbi Yosef Kelner (YouTube screenshot)

Recently a recording of a lecture by Rabbi Yosef Kelner of the pre-army academy (Mechina) at Eli was published where the rabbi presents an extremely disparaging view of women.

I hate to draw more attention to an episode that has caused great embarrassment for the Religious Zionist community, but I feel this is a lot more problematic than one rabbi with a Neanderthal opinion.

Classes are recorded and shared on the internet, and once they are out there, the clean up is akin to trying rid all traces of sand after spending a day at the beach. He has apologized and the Mechina has distanced itself from his views, but the motivation and sincerity of such apology is questionable considering the potential consequences from the backlash.

What of the impressionable students whose minds have been molded day after day with the likes of these ideas? It is highly probable if he disrespects women to such a degree that his value system is seriously skewed in other important areas.

The glaring question is why does Eli allow such things to go on in their classrooms? Do they covertly concur with such philosophies? If Eli truly does not espouse this line of thinking, they need to take more measures than simply condemning his words. They need to reassess and reevaluate their employees and make sure that those who teach in their school reflect their philosophies. That is the only way to prevent this from reoccurring and protect their students from such harmful ideas.

I remember learning that a teacher should correct every wrong answer as soon as possible because the longer the errant information is in someone’s mind, the harder it is to rectify. I wonder how many students still have these misguided ideas influencing the decisions they make daily and what damage has already been done.

I have had the fortune of meeting a few people that attended Eli and they are very respectful, fine young men. The ones I know are nothing short of heroes in my mind. I am sure that much of the credit goes to Eli and the actual praiseworthy rabbis that teach there as well. Unfortunately, the good rarely spreads like the bad. However, at least in this era of modern technology these things are brought to the public and can cause positive change if properly dealt with. I am not sure that Eli will be proactive in this case, but I know what I would like to see happen. They should hire one of the many knowledgeable and spiritual women to give a class on women and perhaps marriage. Instead of the students being told what women are capable of by men, let them learn from actual women.

I don’t need to go on about how women are indeed spiritual beings. Those who are themselves spiritual understand that spirituality is not a gender-based quality. Any genuine, introspective, thoughtful, loving, caring truth seeker is capable of the highest levels of spirituality.

Fabricating nonexistent weakness in others is nothing short of transparent projection of one’s own deficiencies.

About the Author
Aliza Lipkin fufilled her biggest dream by making Aliya in 2003 from the US. She resides happily in a wonderful community in Maaleh Adumim with her family. She is a firm lover and believer in her country, her people and her G-d. Her mission is to try and live a moral and ethical life while spreading insights based on Torah values to bring people closer together and help build a stronger nation.
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