Jewfem Blog

Meet Naomi Pelled, third generation Jewish feminist

The following is a guest blog post by Naomi Pelled, the new Technical Director of "A Jewish Feminist", and a self-described third-generation Jewish feminist.  When I was asked to work with Elana on the tech side running and recording a Telecourse series on Jewish Feminism, I was delighted.  I thought how fascinating it would be, a series on issues affecting Jewish Women from every walk of life, and where I could listen and learn from some world renowned Jewish Women, who have expertise in many pressing women's issues.  I had always considered myself a feminist, following in the footsteps of my mother and her mother before her, but I wasn't an ‘active feminist'. When we met, Elana gave me a copy of her book, 'The War on Women In Israel'. I thought to myself, what a great new Shabbat reading book, but feared that it would irritate my Israeli husband, who is so closed when it comes to Feminism.  This is not because he is anti-women's rights, but because he grew up in the Israeli religious school system and is very naive about these issues. I started reading the book on Shabbat and realised that there are so many news items in Israel, that I take for granted, which I should actually be questioning and not just accepting.  I was so proud as a religious Jewish women, that I have my own mind and do not vote according to what my husband says, but was struck by the number of religious women, whose political affiliations are controlled by their husbands, to the detriments of their human and women's rights. I always believed in woman's rights and equality between men and women. Before making Aliyah, I worked for corporations in HR.  One aspect of my role was to enforce HR governance, working to ensure men and women were paid fairly and equitably to one another. I grew up in the UK, the youngest of three children, and the only daughter.  My mother separated from my father when I was two and a half years old.  My mother never remarried and says her life is far less complicated without a man.  My father, on the other hand, remarried within eighteen months. My mother demonstrated that she was self-sufficient and an emotionally intelligent woman who could hold down a full time job, be a single mother, look after her children and do all home duties, to a high standard.  She was a great role model.  She taught us all that she, as a woman, could be a successful teacher and sensitive mother.  My elder brother, helped around the house with vacuuming, cooking and clearing away and babysitting for me. He has grown up to be a great dad, who shares all household responsibilities from caring for the children, as soon as they woke up, to cooking and cleaning.  He is involved in many other tasks that 50 years ago would have been considered a woman's duty, When I see my father now I see...

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