A new alert for those women who are fighting to ensure their place in modern Israeli and observant Jewish society.
As the Jerusalem Post tells it, on Tuesday, November 22, 2011,
“The Israel Bar Association [failed]…to select a woman to serve on the Appointments Committee for Rabbinical Judges.”
Previously, there had been one woman on that Committee. Now there are none. You might ask yourselves why a committee that oversees the selection of those who decide the fate of battered women, of wives who cannot gain divorces from their husbands and are considered agunot, and of those who declare which women’s children are mamzerim (“bastards” according to Jewish law, with attendant complications in securing a marriage) shouldn’t have any women on it, or even one woman. Yet that is the reality as of today.
So get this: an organization that supports a state committee that determines the legal status of countless women and their children has been politically hijacked by self-interested Orthodox parties who have ensured that their patriarchal system, run by men, dominates not only their women but all Jewish women in Israel.
Now you must be thinking that there are plenty of sympathetic men who care and who will jump to help Jewish women in Israel. Think again.
International Coalition for Agunah Rights (ICAR)…announced on Monday that in light of the (then-expected) selection of Axelrod and Eisenberg, it had prepared a draft bill for the Knesset to reserve two slots on the committee for women. The law was proposed on Monday by MKs Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi), Tzipi Hotovely (Likud), Einat Wilf (Labor), Orit Zuaretz (Kadima) and Zehava Gal-On (Meretz).
Take a look at those names. One man, 4 women are the sponsors of that law. There are 24 female Knesset members out of 120. I would think that electing a few dozen more would help women in Israel immensely. How do you get there? Easily. Join political parties and vote for their slates. Make it a point to vote for women candidates. Then vote for the party which has the most women running on its slate.
But for now let’s start small. If you’re female, I remind you to sing or hum whenever and wherever you are in a public place with men around you, particularly Orthodox men. Make them feel your presence and your strength. Remember, you are not doing anything wrong, you are not stripping or being immodest, you are not being sexually provocative or in any way offensive. You are merely singing. Let them know that they do not control you. Sing. Sing. Sing.