Jewish Feminism

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  • Topic: Judaism, Halakha, Conservative Judaism
  • Pages : 3 (746 words )
  • Download(s) : 154
  • Published : March 25, 2011
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Assess the extent to which a significant person or school of thought, other than Abraham or Moses, has challenged and/or upheld Jewish tradition.(20 marks)

Jewish feminism has had a significant impact on the development and expression of Judaism. They have faced many obstacles and brought about much change in the Jewish tradition. Jewish feminism is a movement that seeks to improve the religious, legal and social role and contribution of women within Judaism. Feminism can be traced back to the early 1970s where women began to question their roles amongst society. For Jewish women, they wanted to focus on the composition of the minyan, the exemption from some mitzvot, exclusion of women as witnesses of Jewish law and the position of women in relation to divorce proceedings. Each variant has responded differently to feminism and the level of impact as differed amongst Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jews.

Judaism is known for being more patriarchal than many other organised religions. This has made it difficult for Jewish feminists to bring about equity and tzedakah. Jewish feminists have one main agenda and that is to challenge and fight sexism within Judaism. They see their work as part of their duty to tikkun olam and believe their actions bring tzedakah to their faith community. Jewish feminism created much controversy as many men thought that it would have a weakening effect on Jewish life, however many would argue that it has been strengthened.

The Orthodox Jewish communities found the impact of Jewish feminism to be a significant issue for their interpretation of the halakah and how their religion is to be expressed. They seeked change in a manner that can be defended by Jewish law and always worked within the framework of traditional worship. However, amongst the Reform and Conservative Jews, their attitudes have been much greater. Reform Jews have accepted that a woman can perform any religious ritual that a man does. They were the...
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