Jewfem Blog

Are Jews really chosen? Or are all religions really the same?

I watched a captivating little video clip today about a man who has tried out six different religions – a few varieties of Christianity, two types of Islam, Hinduism, and currently Judaism. His conclusion? It doesn’t matter. All religions are the same. You can imagine how people of each religion might respond to this. After all, the whole point about being in your religion – for many people, at least –  is that you consider it special. How many wars have been fought because people of a certain religion felt the need to prove to the world that theirs is the best, most correct, or only authentic religion? Too many to count. People around the world have, for centuries or millennia, dedicated their lives to the idea that their religion is the True Word of God. Judaism does this, too. I realize that many Jews will take deep offense at what I am writing here, the notion that Judaism promotes its own specialness no differently than every other religion. I can hear the shouting already. How can you say that? How can you put us in the same category as Islam? As Christianity? What kind of blasphemy is that? Jews really ARE different! Yes, we have been telling ourselves that for a long time. Some of our most important moments are swathed in language that says we are chosen and special. Friday night Kiddush: Ki vanu bacharta, Because You chose us and made us holyBlessing on reading the Torah: Asher bacharta banu mikol ha’amim, for choosing us from among all the nations.The Amidah of the High Holidays and festivals: Ata b’chartanu mikol ha’amim, You chose us from among all the nations We have ingrained this notion that our religion is special, unique, or better than everyone else’s inside our collective memory and consciousness. So has Christianity. So has Islam. I’m just saying. So along comes this curious and courageous guy and says something that, to be honest, I have been thinking for a long time. All the religions are the same. We all like to think we are unique, but we are all basically doing the same thing. And what is it that people in all the different religions are all doing?     He gives an analogy of fingers pointing to the moon that comes from Buddhism: It is as if we are all pointing our fingers, looking for the moon, and instead of finding the moon, we are all obsessed with our own fingers. He doesn’t say what “the moon” is in the analogy, but I have some thoughts about it. We are looking for spirituality, purpose, meaning, the God within, the reason why we are here, the way we are all connected, the larger spirit beyond our little lives, collective consciousness, our Divine sparks. We are all divine beings and we are trying to hear that divine voice within our minds. We are all looking for this, and religion often brings us closer to that. Of course, organized...

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Why great sex is a feminist issue

A few months ago, I was at a conference on Jewish feminism at Bnai Jeshurun in Manhattan, speaking on a panel about visions for the future. We talked about a lot of typical feminist issues – gender wage gaps, women’s leadership, sexist cultures – and it was all interesting and important. But right before the panel was about to end, the panelist to my left, an impressive woman named Rachel Tiven, asked for the microphone one last time. “I promised my friend I wouldn’t lose my nerve to say this,” she said. “So here goes: If you want to do something really feminist, go home and have sex. Have lots of great sex with the person or people of your choosing. That is what feminist liberation is about.” This comment took everyone by surprise. But the sort-of nervous laughter was an indication not only of shocked awkwardness but also of the strange place that sex has in our society, all around us in commercialized forms but nowhere comfortable for real, serious engagement. The more her words echoed inside of me, the more I realized how right she is. We don’t really talk about what good sex is, what healthy sexuality is, about our deepest desires. And for many people, especially women, that often translates into a kind of trap, of feeling caged in to a life in which our desires and our sensualities never really see the light of day. We never really free our sexuality. A lot of this has to do with sexism, and with lingering messages about what makes correct womanhood. So much of sexism and patriarchy in Judaism is about how society owns women’s sexuality. The ubiquitous discussions about modesty, for example, which have morphed into a society-wide obsession with women’s clothing choices and an astonishing spread of slut-shaming practices even in secular schools, is a reminder that women’s sexuality is still considered communal property. The idea that anyone with authority can take it upon himself or herself to police women’s and girls’ bodies, at proms or in bus ads, remains frighteningly persistent. Practices of gender segregation, which are couched in language of “modesty”, also turn women’s bodies into objects of sexual gaze rather than women’s own personal flesh, the tool with which we live our lives and breathe and love and feel.   Read the rest at Jewrotica  

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Ten exciting reasons why you should join the new “Desire” telecourse on sex, Judaism and feminism

  Your intimate partner will love you for it….You will get some great ideas about how to communicate more effectively in the bedroomYou will benefit from personal connections with some of the best sex therapistsYou’ve really wanted to talk about some of these topics for a long time and haven’t had a space to do it – this is it!You can ask all your questions in a safe, closed, private, online environment where you share only what you want to share about yourselfTaking this course can be a romantic date-night with your partner!If you’re having sexual issues or problems or pains (emotional or physical), this is your chance to learn moreBecause sexual power and health is a feminist issueYou are ready to start living more fully and open the doors that often remained closed.Because you know you want to! Sign up here Questions? FAQ here Or contact Elana directly This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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