In addition to the gift I received last night in the form of an unambiguous reminder of how and why I am where I am, I also received this beautiful poem from Elke Weiss. Wow.
A Poem for Elana
by Elke Weiss
She asked them.
How long will I wait for women rabbis?
They told her to wait. Wait just a little longer, and while you do it, serve chicken soup and smile because everything is wonderful.
How long will I wait to see Agunot free?
They told her it would happen soon. Another five years. Ten years. Just wait a little longer. And make sure to look pretty while you wait.
How long will I wait to have women be equal?
They told her to be grateful for the curtains and the rules and the diamond ceiling, and enjoy the golden cage and chains, because confinement was a gift.
How long will I wait to have the abuse against women be addressed?
They told her to understand that things take time and look at all the tiny victories and shouldn’t be happy to have grape juice, why ask for wine?
How long will I wait till you hear me?
They told her to be invisible and small and helpless, and to be a passive victim, and to bear the burden of honor, while having none of the honors herself.
How long till you realize you care more about image than substance?
They told her to think of her great grandparents, and think of her family and think of the community and think of everyone but herself, like a good Jewish woman.
So she told them farewell and walked away.
They asked her how could she be so ungrateful and think of the Torah and think of her great grandparents and think of everyone but herself, because tradition mattered.
And she told them.
No.Elke Weiss, WOW. I have shivers from this. Thank you !!!
The JewFem blog is written by the award-winning writer Dr. Elana Maryles Sztokman, former Executive Director of JOFA, the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance. Elana's books include The Men’s Section: Orthodox Jewish Men in an Egalitarian World, which won the 2012 National Jewish Book Council Award for Women's Studies, Educating in the Divine Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools, which won the 2013 National Jewish Book Council Award for Education (co-authored with Chaya Gorsetman), and the forthcoming The War on Women in Israel: How Religious Radicalism is Stifling the Voice of a Nation Elana writes frequently at The Forward, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Lilith, and more.
A glorious poem indeed. Thank you Elke, thank you Elana.
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