Jewfem Blog

"The War on Women in Israel:" Get an advance peak at the JBC blog!



In advance of this week's Jewish Book Council conference, I wrote a series of posts at the JBC blog as their "Visiting Scribe". (Don't you just love the Jewish Book Council...) Two of the posts are sneak-peaks of my upcoming book, The War on Women in Israel, set to be released in Sept (pg), and one is with Dr Chaya Gorsetman about our award-winning book Educating in the Divine Image. Take a look:   7 Places Where Religious Radicalism Threatens Women’s Well-Being in Israel Women being arrested for praying out loud at the Western Wall – it’s a story so shocking that it has managed to make headlines around the world. But the Western Wall is just one piece of a larger picture of religion and gender in Israel today. In fact, the threat to women’s well-being in Israel today, which comes from an increasingly radical religious power structure, finds expression in many areas. On public streets, on buses, in the government, in the army, in the courts, and in hospitals, women’s bodies are the objects of public scrutiny, debate and even violence. Below are seven places where women's bodily well-being has been threatened in Israel because of growing religious radicalism: Read more here   10 Inspiring Ways That Women Are Fighting for Justice in Israel  In my previous post, I described seven frightening trends of religious radicalism in Israel threatening women’s well-being and in some cases women’s lives. Despite this dire report, there have also been some inspiring actions by women’s groups and other social activists fighting for human rights and change in Israel. The most interesting developments are those that come from religious feminist groups, fighting for change from within the religious world. But the work of religious feminism is tremendously bolstered by social activist NGOs working on a variety of fields. Below are 10 examples of inspiring campaigns by Israeli NGOs to reclaim women’s rights in the face of religious threats: Read more here   10 Ways You Can Promote Gender Equality in Your Local School Gender messages are all around us. From images in schoolbooks to images on bus ads, from conversations on the train to those on the big screen, from clothing conventions learned at school or on Fifth Avenue – everywhere we turn, we are subsumed in messages about what it means to be a “correct” or “normal” woman or man. Just this week there has been a heated debate on our Facebook feeds about whether there is room in our society for women to express anger without being dismissed for not being perky enough. Gender is everywhere. In our research, we have been especially interested in how these gender messages get transmitted in Jewish educational institutions. Schools are big parts of our adult lives – as parents, community members, and former students ourselves. And certainly schools are a big part of our children’s lives. Events taking place in school today are likely to impact our culture for years to come For that reason, we...

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On single sex versus coeducation: Unraveling the quagmire

Are you trying to make sense of all the talk and conflicting research about single-sex versus coeducation? Here's something to help you: A SPECIAL EXCERPT from Educating in the Divine Image -- the entire chapter on the subject of single-sex versus coeducation. Download the FREE chapter here And please share your thoughts and reactions in the comments section below or on the Facebook page.   CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD Chapter 3 of Educating in the Divine Image: Single-sex verus Coeducation.pdf     Click here to purchase your own copy of Educating in the Divine Image

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Book event tonight in Givat Zeev!

בס"ד הנכם מוזמנים לערב עיון בנושא: מגדר וחינוך דתי תפילה, לימוד תורה, צניעות, מנהיגות, ועוד עם ד"ר אילנה סטוקמן מחברת הספר: Educating in the Diving Image: Gender Issues in Orthodox Jewish Day Schools שזכה בפרס National Jewish Book Award 2013 הערב יתקיים בבית משפחת ברדוגו מבוא הדס 10 ביום שני 17.2.14 אור ליח' אדר א' ב-8:30 בערב

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Day Schools Must Keep Up With Society In Gender Equality

Excerpt from Elana's op-ed in The Jewish Week "When my daughter was in kindergarten, her teacher decided that it would be nice to get mothers more involved in the class. So she invited us to what she thought would be a fun evening with a stylist who specializes in teaching people how to set their tables more elegantly. I made a futile attempt to explain to this lovely young woman why a women’s-only evening to teach proper table-care was throwing women back a generation or more, and that, by the way, fathers are parents, too. The teacher could not comprehend how something as innocuous as a get-together for table-setting mothers could be taken as offensive, and I eventually dropped the discussion rather than reduce her to tears. Clearly, this was her first encounter with some basic ideology of the movement for women’s equality." Read the rest here            

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Do Jewish schools know how to teach Shabbat in a gender-neutral way?

Sara Ivry of Tablet Magazine interviewed Elana for the vox-pop about Educating in the Divine Image. Here's an excerpt: "Take prayer for example. Even among 3- and 4- and 5-year-olds, you have a lot of schools which will still make the boy leading the prayer service, he’ll be the hazzan, what’s called the cantor, the leader. And the girls will be in charge of, you know, choosing a picture or choosing a song or handing out the prayerbooks, the siddurim. So, even then, they’re 3 years old, they’re 4 years old. And the boys are the active leaders. The ones standing in front of the classroom leading. And they’re the ones who get to wear the prayer shawl, the tallit, and they get to make all the brachot, and everybody looks at them and says “Amen” to them. And the girls are the ones, you know, helping out, or looking pretty, or passively taking on other roles. So, that’s one really interesting issue that takes place in early childhood.  "The other one is Shabbat, which is Friday afternoon or Friday morning, where many Jewish schools, and this is not just an Orthodox school thing, but most Jewish schools prepare the children for Shabbat by teaching them that there’s an ima of Shabbat and an abba of Shabbat. Like there is a mother and a father. And schools have many different ways for telling the boys what it means to be the abba, the father, and what it means to be the ima. So, sometimes it’ll be that the boy is in charge of making the blessings on the wine and the girl is in charge of lighting the candles. Sometimes it’s that the boy has to practice singing while the girl has to go home and, you know, bake a cake, for example. But what’s interesting is that in almost every single early childhood classroom, there are gender-segregated roles. So that children from really early on are learning that keeping Shabbat depends on what gender you are. There is a version of Shabbat that’s for boys, and there is a version of Shabbat that’s for girls. Listen to the entire interview here   Read an excerpt of our book, Educating in the Divine Image at The Eden Center blog    

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