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Role of Women in Jewish Religion

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Role of Women in Jewish Religion

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We have been taught about several religions throughout this course, but one religion that has really caught me, is Judaism. There are many interesting facts about the Jewish community, religion, and such. However, I’m going to just talk about Jewish women and the roles they play in the Jewish community. In traditional Judaism, women are for the most part seen as separate but equal. Women's obligations and responsibilities are different from men's, but no less important. As a matter of fact, women’s responsibilities, in some ways, are considered more important. Akeret Habayit is the Hebrew word given to the wife and mother in a Jewish household. Akeret Habayit literally means the “mainstay” of the home. It is the mother and wife who largely determines the character and atmosphere of the entire home. “The Akeret Habayit – has a primary role, second to none. It is largely – and in many respects exclusively – her great task and privilege to give her home its truly Jewish atmosphere.” Women are discouraged from pursuing higher education or religious pursuits, but this seems to be primarily because women who engage in such pursuits might neglect their primary duties as wives and mothers. The rabbis are not concerned that women are not spiritual enough; rather, they are concerned that women might become too spiritually devoted. There is no question that in traditional Judaism, the primary role of a woman is as wife and mother, keeper of the household. However, Judaism has great respect for the importance of that role and the spiritual influence that the woman has over her family. The Talmud says that when a religious man marries a wicked woman, the man becomes wicked, but when a wicked man marries a religious woman, the man becomes religious. The child of a Jewish woman and a gentile man is Jewish because of the mother's spiritual influence; the child of a Jewish man and a gentile woman is not. Jewish women are exempted from all positive mitzvot that are time-related...