Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Jewish potential

Some time ago, I wrote a post called "is there such a thing as Jewish feminism?". Since then, after participating in a few online discussions, I have discovered that far from wondering about whether there is a connection - there are people who are convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jews are the ones to blame for all ills of modern society that stem from Marxism and feminism, such as destruction of the family, devaluing of men, promiscuity, "no-fault" divorce and "safe and legal" abortions.

The logic? "Karl Marx had been Jewish. Betty Friedan and other feminist leaders had been Jewish. Thus, Jews are, of course, guilty". You might be rolling your eyes now, but some people claim - with full conviction - that the feminist promotion of abortion "rights" is actually part of a Jewish conspiracy to eliminate as many non-Jewish children as possible.

Are you shocked? I'm not. After all, we were the ones accused of using blood of Christian children as a part of our traditional Passover matzo recipe. And that didn't end in the Middle Ages, either. Remember the trial of Beilis? It was in 1913, people. The irony of these specific, recurring blood libels is that it's absolutely prohibited under Jewish Law to consume blood - any blood, in any form - and anyone who knows just a wee bit about Jewish dietary laws could testify to that.

Still, many of the leaders of social movements that wrecked havoc throughout the last century had been Jewish. However, none of them - as far as I remember - had been observant. Karl Marx was born into a family of Jews who rejected their faith and heritage for the possibility of social acceptance and career, and eventually became an atheist. Betty Friedan was far from being a religious Jewish woman. I could go on and on, but you get the idea - none of these people could represent, even remotely, the Jewish faith, philosophy, tradition, values or culture.

In Proverbs 3, wisdom based on the Lord's teachings is described as "more precious than rubies"; it is "a tree of life to those who embrace her". As Jews, we are given tremendous potential and a powerful drive to change the world for the better, but to use it wisely, we need to align our thoughts, plans and desires with the holy Torah - our tree of life. Unfortunately, there have been some misguided Jews in every generation, which gave us people like Karl Marx, Betty Friedan and Moshe Rosen.

Letting go of the tree of life inevitably results in death - death of family, of motherhood, of society. Death of millions of innocent children murdered in their mother's womb. Jews have impacted the world tremendously, considering the fact that we are, perhaps, 0.1% of the world's population and never made any particular effort to expand our numbers. A Jew who abandons his faith remains a carrier of great potential, which can become destructive.

Imagine how different our world could be, if instead of atheist-Jew Karl Marx, we had rabbi Karl Marx, who dedicated his entire life to studying the matters of social justice and treatment of the poor and downtrodden according to Jewish Law. Imagine if instead of feminist Betty Friedan, we had rebbetzin Betty, the proud mother of twelve children and a Jewish marriage counselor.

Nothing like it can happen once Jews no longer embrace the Torah, our tree of life. Let's hold on to it.


Anonymous said...'s been almost two decades since I read the Manifesto, and I never did read The Feminine Mystique.
Still, both Marx and Friedan did do some good, I think...Marx isn't responsible for Stalin's atrocities, after all, or for others who twisted his thoughts. He was a theoretician who did have some important things to say. I'm not sure life in Russia or other areas would have been so much more ideal under the Tzar or the like, and at least now there is awareness that the proletariat/working class has rights too.
As for Friedan...I certainly don't agree with her stance on abortion. However, I think she had crucial things to say about the plight of certain housewives. She gave millions of women the words to articulate what they were feeling. She could not have operated in a vacuum; there was a huge audience waiting for her encouragement.
So although I don't quite agree with either Marx or Friedan, I still admire the way they struggled to free others....a struggle many Jews have taken up, and a struggle much more worthy than just minding your own business.

Jennifer said...

Believers of all faiths have been unfairly labeled by a select few who acted contrary to the main tenants of their faith. Universally, people need an enemy, and they often lash out against that which they understand the least.

Sara said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Anna!

I am a Christian, but Christian or Jew, I think there is greater potential for evil when those who have been raised hearing what God commands turn their backs on God! Many claim the name Christian, but are not. Anyone who claims Christian should know he claims God's laws as ones that point out his need for a savior and laws that should guide his life. Never should the name be used to persecute anyone! Anyone who truly knows Jesus as Christ, will not come to the conclusion that Jews are to blame for all of societal ills! There are those who claim Christianity who have no claim to the blood of Christ. Just as everyone who was born of a Jew, is not always a practicing son of Abraham! The death of millions of innocent lives have not come at the hands of one. It has come at the hands of billions who have turned their heads and refused to stand up and say enough.

I prefer to look at it this way, all the wonderful things of this world have come because God chose a family in which all the world would be blessed. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus is a Jew, a son of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob, through the line of Judah, and the House of King David. Then you have doctors and scientists who are Jews who have done wonders for our society.

You can count on my family standing with you and yours until His Kingdom has come on earth! May God continue to bless you and keep you. The LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you! May He lift His countenance upon you and give you peace!

Anonymous said...

There are always going to be those who will point their finger squarely at a specific group of people, ignoring all other factors in the circumstances. Logic is thrown out the window, it seems, & superstitions & mob-like behavior rapidly take its place. The result is seldom good.

I read the link you provided....what a sad story.


Swylv said...

I really like the closing thoughts!

Mrs. Amy @ Clothesline Alley said...

Wonderful post, Anna. I have come across many of these theories myself and while I would not object to the fact that some people involved in these evil movements happened to be secular Jews, it's ludicrous to make the jump that these movements are/were what Judaism is about. Even from the mouths (or typing fingers) of those who believe such madness about the world, not everyone in the evil cabal is supposed to be Jewish and certainly nobody is a pious religious Jew (or Christian, Muslim, and so on), so how we get from Point A to the "great Jewish conspiracy" doesn't quite make sense to me...

Anonymous said...

I want to add...that even without Marx or Friedan some people would blame Jews for all the ill in the world. And even observant Jews, pillars of their community, were blamed for all the ills in the world (note the number of rabbis, including the founders of Chabad, sent off to exile in Siberia for years or to die).

And on another does annoy when people blame all the ills in the world on communism or feminism (maybe it's more pc to blame them than the Jews). It seems these two have become a catch-all target among certain groups, to the point where issues that are not in any way connected are immediately laid at the feet of these Two Bad Guys.

Zeljka said...

I agree. I must say exactly the same for us - Roman Catholics - how great it wolud be that each one of us obeys our religion with dedication and love. And I hope that every human being will eventually find peace in his religion, jewish, christian or muslim. God bless!

Gothelittle Rose said...

Ah, a lot of us don't particularly appreciate being ripped from the warm happiness of our current roles, torn from our families, cast out into an uncaring world on our own, and told by a few sanctimonious feminists that it's "for our own good" to not "depend on a man" as if nobody should ever depend upon or be depended upon by anybody else. ^.^

Though I admire those who seek to free others, I admit less admiration for those who decide that everyone else would be happy if they were only forced to live the way these people think they want to live.

Anonymous said...

Jews-- going back to the prophets -- have long had a special concern for the underdog because they themselves suffered discrimination and persecution for so many centuries. Friedan and Marx are part of that tradition. They stood up for the oppressed -- Friedan for women and Marx for laborers.
I happen to think Marx's thinking was deeply flawed but his motivations were laudible. Friedan and Marx may not have been religious Jews, but I think were influenced by strong Jewish traditions of analytical thought, hard work, and a deep concern for social justice. While I like Friedan's thinksing, I probably hate political Marxism as much as Mrs. T does. But as a person of some Jewish heritage and pride, I see nothing to be ashamed of in Marx's example and much to be proud of.

Anonymous said...

What is a rebbetzin?

Mrs. Anna T said...

Rebbetzin = rabbi's wife.

Anonymous said...

Gothelittlerose....I don't think feminists really ripped anyone out of their house, although I suppose you could say they created a social reality that caused women to feel uncomfortable if they stayed home. Things swayed from one extreme to another, as they often do in revolutions.
So I do applaud Friedan for 'freeing' those women who wanted to venture out of the house(and there were millions); now someone just as charismatic needs to come along and 'free' those who want to stay home with dignity (maybe another Jew?)

Anonymous said...

Sorry I had to dash off so quick before, Anna. I also wanted to say, I remember hearing a pastor once saying that Satan had a special hatred for the Jewish people, because God had a special love for them. Perhaps I should amend that to say "has"....the hatred unfortunately continues, but God's love does too!!! For myself, as a Gentile Christian, the sneering at, the dislike of, & even outright hatred of Jews by those who claim Christ has never made sense to me. It's like calling one of your parents ugly!

Good to read the other comments as well....I'm glad you posted on this important topic.


Máire Bacun said...

This was eloquently put, Mrs. Anna. Oh, the levels of intellectual dishonesty people justify to fuel their prejudices and conspiracies....God be with us all.

Anonymous said...

I know this is a tremendously superficial question given the topic but I am still curious so Im asking. I know that you know me well enough to know my curiosity and Im not mocking. If Jews are not allowed to consume any blood at all does that mean that you must cook your beef well done and none rare or even medium rare? Im quite ignorant on Jewish law and am happy that you are educating me!


Mrs. Anna T said...

Jenny, prior to cooking, meat must have all blood removed by salting and washing. After blood is removed this way, it shouldn't make any difference how the meat is cooked.

Natalie said...

Absolutely inspiring. I've never thought of Jews as being responsible for this, that or the other thing, but I know it's an injustice that as a people, you've dealt with almost since time began.

It's silly, but after I played "Yente" in a small church production of "Fiddler on the Roof," I began to really appreciate the Jewish culture and faith and determination to stick to their principles. You are a beautiful, godly people and I'm always amazed when bigoted "Christians" make their ugly, idiotic claims.

Thank you for this post.

Mandi said...

"Though I admire those who seek to free others, I admit less admiration for those who decide that everyone else would be happy if they were only forced to live the way these people think they want to live."

The feminists aren't the only ones that do this. The Home-Everything people do it too, just at the opposite end of the lifestyle spectrum.

Bailey said...

Love your analogy of the tree of life. :)

However horrible these accusations are (not to mention Ridiculous), we as those living for God must remember that our testimony--good or bad--is seen by the world. It should encourage us to take more action for God to at least counter-balance the evil done by fellow "believers," lest God's Name be blasphemed. I appreciate you speaking out, Mrs. T. ;)

Anonymous said...

Oops -- I left the comment that starts "Jews -- going back to the prophets -- "

Ah, a lot of us don't particularly appreciate being ripped from the warm happiness of our current roles, torn from our families, cast out into an uncaring world on our own, and told by a few sanctimonious feminists that it's "for our own good" to not "depend on a man" as if nobody should ever depend upon or be depended upon by anybody else.

Are you saying that feminists are ripping you from your family? Because that's false. If you can afford not to earn an income, no one is forcing you into the labor force.

I suspect that you are upset about economic pressures. But that's life, not feminism. Since industrialization, women have always had to work. It was a luxury to have a husband who could support an entire family on his salary alone. And I don't really see a moral justification for any adult to demand an absolute right to be shielded from the realities of earning a living.

Sorry if I sound snippy, but I don't understand this point of view at all. I suspect that "feminists" just make an easy scapegoat for other issues.

-- Pendragon

Civilla said...

Like your blog. My best friend is Jewish, and we have been friends since we were 13/14. We are now 55/56. Although I am a born-again Christian and conservative/moderate, and a pastor's wife, and she is a non-religious Jewish person who is a feminist, we "connect" and tend to like the same things.
I go to her with a lot of my problems because she has good insight, and sometimes it is nice to talk to someone outside of my religion. She never condemns me or tritely tells me "just trust God", something I frequently get from well-meaning Christian friends.
One thing about Jewis people that troubles me (and I know a lot of Jewish people, because I am from the N.Y. area origianlly), is that they somehow think that if they are tolerant of everybody (no matter how weird), then everybody will be tolerant of them. Has this ever worked? I don't think so. People everywhere hate Jewish people without a cause. I guess it is because Satan hates them, because they are God's chosen people and the root of Christianity. I always think that the really smart Jewish people are the ones in Israel who say, "NEVER AGAIN will there be another holocaust, and fight for the right of the nation of Israel to exist.

Anonymous said...

God bless His precious chosen people who were entrusted with the oracles of God! Where would we be without them? There are some in Christianity also who the enemy tried to use to discredit the others and nullify their testimony. God grant us wisdom!

Christine said...

Luckily, where I come from in Canada, I have not once heard someone blame Jews for the ills of the world. I have been in discussions where we talk about how Jews have been wrongly blamed in the past, but not once have I met anyone from any religion in Canada that still holds this belief. Or at least they do not speak of it in public.
Hopefully this trend will occur in other parts of the world.

MarkyMark said...


That's GOOD stuff! Thanks for sharing...


MarkyMark said...


I think part of it is the human tendency to pick on ANYONE who's different from the crowd. Any serious adherent to their religion, such as a fundamentalist Christian, an observant Jew, or serious practitioner of Islam WILL stand out in the crowd. One area is dress. Fundamentalist Christians tend to dress up; guys will wear shirt & tie minimum, while ladies wear blouses and skirts or dresses. Observant Jews, with the exception of their headgear, also dress much better than the average slob. Muslims have their own dress too. In any case, religious people dress differently. It doesn't take much more than a quick glance to tell them apart.

Secondly, religious people of all stripes also BEHAVE differently; many, myself included, would say BETTER. That shames the average person out there too. Religious people, observant Jews included, make an effort to speak carefully and without profanity that's so common in everyday culture. The behavior of religious people makes them stand out. Standing out makes one different.

Finally, religious people have a HIGHER AUTHORITY that guides everything that they say and do; they let God call the shots in their lives. Normal people don't do this; they do what THEY want to do, not what God wants them to do. That makes secular people feel bad, because the devout people serve as a mirror to their lives.

Just look at you, Anna. It's plain to see that God is REAL in your life! It's plain to see that He dictates what you do, what you say, how, when, everything. It's clear in how you deal with people-with kindness, tact, and wisdom. Where does wisdom come from? Proverbs says wisdom comes from God...

I'm not saying that this is the ONLY dynamic at work here; I'm merely saying that it is one. Even back in school (or especially in school), who got picked on a lot? The kid who was different, right? Unfortunately, many adults are adult in body only; they never matured beyond their school kid mindset.


Tracy's corner said...

I just wanted to say I'm with sara the one who commented 2nd on this post. Amen!

Leslie said...

I do so enjoy reading your posts on your heritage and the history behind your country/people. Thank you for sharing and enlightening the rest of us. :)

Gothelittle Rose said...


We used to live in a culture where it was a woman's choice whether or not to work outside the home. Now it's becoming expected of them more and more, and the political structure is pushing it harder and harder.

Obama's plan, for instance, to raise taxes in such a way that is sure to raise the cost of everyday products and then offer tax credits only for matters such as daycare and government education is the strongest push I've seen in a while, closing the walls on those who dare to live frugally on a single income while handing out government candy to those who dump their kids on The System and join their husbands in The Workforce.

CappuccinoLife said...

Ugh. I hate hearing conspiracy theories about Jews. I struggle with rage every time I hear some ignorant goober talking about how Jews have an evil plan to take over the world.

What I find odd is that many secular Jews are part of the extreme left, and many of these theories come from the extreme left, though some from the extreme right as well. :(

Leslie said...


I finally tried that dough/crust recipe you gave awhile back. So easy and absolutely loved it!!! This is the first dough I have ever made without having any problems getting it to roll out perfect. :)

Maria said...

I agree with you.
While I believe that such things as a NWO coming to power and that 9/11 was an inside job, I'm still shocked when I hear theories that jews are behind everything. Being a Messianic Gentile, it pains me. And I just don't know why they have to be like that.

Rebecca Grider said...

As a faithful reader of your blog and one who has respect for the choices you've made in your life, I must disagree with one statement you made - (to paraphrase) that the world would be better had Betty Friedan been a mother and a marriage counselor. I think the course of my life would've been poorly hampered had it not been for Ms. Friedan and the countless other feminists before her who stood up to protect what you and I take for granted: choice in our life.

Being a mother is not the choice for everyone. I know it is not one for me. I have no interest, no desire and do not have the temperment. So, in the world you paint without a feminist to pave the wave for me to have a career, what choice would that have left me?

Feminism isn't about being a man-hating, family-loathing, abortion-loving woman. It is about have equal rights as men: being paid equally for equal work, the right to vote, the right to equal education, the right to choose a career, to even have a career, to avoid being looked at as nothing but a sexual object, to be free from sexual harrassment in the workplace. Does some of that still exist? Yes, but because of feminism, because of the right to pave our own paths and the hard fought right to be treated as equal members of society, we have recourse. Our votes count. We can sue for sexual harrassment. We can press charges against rapists.

I have read Friedan's autobiography and, honestly, she's rather annoying, but what she and Gloria Steinhem and suffragetes worked for was the right to be able to fulfill our greatest potential. And not all of us are suited as wives and mothers. I, for instance, am one of those women that couldn't spend the rest of my life at home with a family. It's not my forte, it's not my interest and it doesn't attract me as a lifelong career.

So I am able to buy my own home, in my own name. I'm able to participate in our national elections. I'm able to be educated at the most prestigous universities and make my own way in the world. I know it's not a decision every woman would make, but it is my decision and I am able to make it because of feminists.

Because of feminists we have the Family and Medical Leave Act, which protects a woman's job if she has to care for a family member, becomes ill herself or needs time off to have or adopt a child. Much of the time feminists have been accused of hating home and family - this Act, I think, disproves that.

Karl Marx obviously wrought more bad than good with his writings - communism has been proved, through history, to be a horrible system of government. But why is Betty Friedan lumped in with him? She didn't wrought evil - she worked so that women could have equal rights. How can that be a bad thing?

Some women are not called to be mothers. Some are called to be doctors, lawyers, politicians, scientists, authors, teachers. The world would be worse off if it weren't for some of those women. Marie Curie, Jane Austen, Mary Cassatt, Emily Dickinson, Florance Nightengale, Dorothy Parker, Anne Sullivan. None of these women had children;some of them never married. But their lives still shaped history. They are not less-than because they didn't have children. They contributed greatly to the world through thought and deed. We'd lose great scientific breakthroughs, great literature, great works of humanity and amazing inspirations if they had decided on having children instead.

I recognize that you aren't saying that women shouldn't contribute to the fabric of history. You are contributing yourself to the lives of others by your blog - I have found your peace and postitive outlook to be an inspiration to me at times.

By the way, Betty Friedan did have three children. One is a noted physicist.

There would still be the ugly spector of anti-semitism even if she were simply Mrs. Friedan, the rebbetzin. Just as there is still racism and discrimination. But I can tell you that if it weren't for Ms. Friedan and the countless others who fought for my right to be counted as equal to any man, my life would've been adversely affected. My grandmother was born before women in my country could vote. Now we had a woman running for president and another running for vice-president. Those are strides that were made within 100 years.

And for your information, for all the horrible people who think horrible things about Jewish people, there were many people like Irena Sendler, a Catholic, who saved over 2400 Jewish children during WWII. There were countless families in Britain who took in children from the Kindertransport. There are still people like me, who was raised an atheist and who lives in opposition to many of your values, i.e. doesn't want children or marriage, who thinks your faith and religion are both beautiful and inspiring. There might be horrible people who say horrible things in the world, but the rest of us, feminists included, are trying to speak even louder in support.

Anonymous said...

Gothelittlerose: I'm not too familiar with legislature in the States. I do think it's important that there is an infrastructure that supports both working women and those who stay home. I know in Israel, working women enjoy maternity leave, subsidized daycare, tax breaks for moms, etc. I don't know which laws support stay-at-homers, or which laws they would like to see implemented. That could make for an interesting discussion. (One point is that in Israel, health insurance is not paid for by work, but individually, and for a small fee. So women can stay home freely without worrying about whether their husband's health coverage is good enough).

I absolutely support legislature to protect sahms (as long as it does not harm those who choose a different path). However, I take issue with two of your statements. First, 'it's becoming expected of them more and more' (of women to work) - well, yes, that was just the problem in the 50s, when women were expected not to work. It goes both ways, and is stifling either way.
And second, 'those who dump their kids on The System' - oh my. I do not dump my kids, I send them to the preschools and schools I deem best for their development. I really feel it's infinitely better for them than staying at home with me 24/7. I think you need to respect the choices others make, or at least concede that many parents who send their kids to public school think it is for the child's good.

Anonymous said...

the same idiots who support Jewish conspiracy theories also claim that the black man (and woman) in america are violent beasts just waiting to pounce on poor unsuspecting white people. Charles Manson was counting on this kind of ignorance to start a race war.

As a WASP of many generation heritage I am really upset by this. I think idiots come from all societies and faiths. the peaceful Muslin has to contend with this kind of c**p every day in America, also. Please take some comfort that there are Christians that do NOT support this nasty, ghastly racist attitude.

on a different subject: could you forward this to Michelle (Elspeth's mom)...she is not accepting email. If she puts Elspeth on her own chest, when colic hits, and wraps them both up warmly and rocks in a rocking chair, it should relax the colic spasms. also, if she puts something warm in her little crib (while the baby is out of the crib), it will comfort the little one. the warming pad etc. must be removed before the baby is put back in, though. Colic is common and does, honestly, go away in time. I can only imagine (and remember) how daunting it is when a new parent is living it. Please send her our love and know that YOU continue to be in our prayers and hearts.

Analytical Adam said...

Well Mrs. Anna. I do think feminism is a very serious problm in so called RABBINIC JUDAISM AND ORTHODOX JUDAISM and to just blame the secular Jews is unfair although to single out Jews for this problem (it is a problem in Christianity as well) I think is wrong. (On top of that as you have said once a Jew always a Jew. Judaism could excommunicate people as other religons do and the concept is in the torah that at a certain point you are cut off by Rabbi's don't do that and if they don't other Jews who sin are our responsibility. You can't have it both ways.)

Anyway, you mentioned what these charachters (Marx and Friedman) would have been if they were a Rabbi or a woman. What about if Marx was a rank and file Jew which in my opinion me being a rank and file Jew and not a Rabbi I seem to have no role other then being a scapegoat. Only Rabbi's and women seem to deserve respect. What about Rank and File Jewish Men??? Many Rabbi's support feminism in all area's except their own profession and what makes it so bad is they are very naive about women because they don't see what women do to men who don't have a bully pulpit which I have seen that women are capable of evil but most Rabbi's don't see it because women kiss up to them. As a relative nobody I have seen some terrible behavior by Jewish women that is made worse by naive Rabbi's that make excuses for them.

Secondly, regarding Betty Friedman having many children Betty Friedman did have 7 grandkids but all her followers had no kids as she was againt the American Family because she supported the Soviet Union which was of course anti family as I am sure you know and she was never a housewilfe. The contact with and articles I have read of Jewish women who have many children neverthless don't have husbands they respect and some of the husbands make their money in religious area's by being corrupt and hurting rank and file men and other husbands rely on welfare. And I have been to a few women's homes and read their lectures that had a lot of children and they were very hostile to men to be honest and treated their own son's like garbage and I was treated like garbage. Some of these women that have many children give horrible advice to other women and furthermore, don't want other women to do what they did and push them to focus on career first.
So having many children does not neccesarily mean you aren't a feminist that hates men and wants feminist policies in the world.

I don't see ANY BRANCH of Judaism that recognizes that while we need a strong mother figure we nedd a strong father figure as well. The only men that matter are the Rabbi's. No Jewish relgious source that I know of EVER TALKS ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF FATHERS THAT I KNOW OF. And this is nothing but Religious Feminist Marxism to be quite frank. I get boooks from various religious conservative view points and some do mention the importance of strong men while recognizing women's important role as well. I see nothing in Orthodox Judaism Rabbinic commentary that see's a fathers role as important and being a responsible man.

Analytical Adam said...

I also wanted to say many ORthodox women actually think it is ONLY THE GUY'S RESPONSIBILITY TO BE FRUITFUL AND APPLY and they aren't obligated in this which is absurd. They also aren't required to get married only men are which is equally absurd. THe sad end result of this is when a woman is unmarried or doesn't have children it is the man's fault but if the women does have children you give credit to the women. So the bad goes to the man and the good goes to the woman. It is very obvious that bringing children into the world women have more control of it then men do and it is a responsibilty for women to use their childbearing years properly but many Rabbi's tell the women otherwise. In both cases I thik highly of women that want to have children and not too highly of women that don't.

Mrs. Anna T said...


I agree that in all centuries, there were SOME women who might have felt themselves unsuited for marriage and motherhood. If you are one of them, it's very possible that you feel encouraged, supported and liberated by feminism.

But the thing is, feminism is not really about liberating those "select few". Your lifestyle, which is a desired option for few women, is promoted, encouraged, and praised for ALL women, regardless of their situations in life. The other night, I was talking on the phone with a friend, and was asked, "so... found a job yet? Still looking?"

I'm 7 months pregnant. We are preparing for the arrival of a baby in a FEW WEEKS. But what do I hear? Either I'm asked whether I'm looking for a job, or I get sympathetic nods, in the way of "yes, of course having a baby right now delays your career for a year or two. How unfortunate. But don't worry, when she's a couple months old you can drop her in daycare."

This is the prevalent attitude, and I doubt it has been beneficial to the women who find their highest calling in marriage and motherhood - and who have always been a natural majority.

Speaking of maternity leave in Israel, it's 3 months. I hardly believe a 3-month-old baby is old enough to be anywhere but with his/her mom.


I believe what you say is somewhat imprecise. Jewish scriptures talk quite a lot about married harmony through submission to one's husband. The problem is, and here you hit the nail on the head, that many "modern" rabbis choose to ignore this.

Anonymous said...

Anna, I sympathize with the pressure on you to get a job.
Personally, I would love to quit my part time work. However, because of the social climate, everyone (including my dear husband) think that a woman staying home is either a privilege for the wealthy, or a nasty reality for the poor and unemployed. There is no middle ground. Nevermind that I have 5 kids and surely could keep myself occupied.

I know I have feminism to thank for this. However, I also have feminism to thank for the fact that I received a wonderful education, travelled the world on my own, and lived by myself before marriage. I would never give up on any of these. I would never want to revert to the olden days of double standards, where women took typing courses to pass the time till marriage, and men travelled the world, got an education, sowed their wild oats, all before choosing to settle with someone who was quietly waiting. No thank you.

I also appreciate the fact that many women love to work, or at least need to work and should be able to do so with dignity. I only hope the social climate will change at some point to make both choices acceptable.

Analytical Adam said...

To the last comment that said before feminism women had it very hard and men just travled the world before getting married that is so false I don't know what to say and the women had it so hard I don't what to say this is complete nonsense. Very few men got a college education until very recently and most got married young as well because life expectancy was much lower. I am 35 and I have had very little time in my life to go on vacation and have a good time. I haven't even had a lot of time to date. I have read books about prior periods and I have NO IDEA WHERE WOMEN get this idea that in the past MEN HAD A GOOD TIME before getting married. It is just not true. WOmen today want to have a good time which is true of some observant Jewish women because they think men in the past had a great time which is not true, I have had a very difficult life. Growing up my father disliked me because he wanted a different temperment in a son and he compared me to other relatives. My mother disliked me because she believed all this feminist garbage and took it out on me. My father's Rabbi encouraged him to hate me and you have no idea what I had to put with growing up and many in my family blame me for this and NO RABBI HAS BEEN SUPPORTIVE TO ME AS THE ONLY FAMILYU PROBLEMS THEY CARE ABOUT IS MEN EQUAL 100% BAD WOMEN EQUAL 100% GOOD. And these are all so called ORTHODOX people. Rabbi's may be very knowledgable in certain laws and they know more then me. But I am sorry they are very naive when it comes to certain things because they have never been in the trenches and don't have the humility to talk to people that have been. We don't believe that our Rabbi's are G-d's and are perfect in every way and many of them do believe out of liberal propoganda not just in feminism but in other area's. A lot of Rabbi's today support evolution even though I know there are problems with the theory. But Feminism seems to be the worst area as it encompases all Orthodox groups and as I said I have never read a Rabbinic commentary that recognizes that being a father that is responsible and having a backbone (whcih doesn't mean being inflexible) is important. Moses listened to Yitro and Bnot Zlephchad and made adjustments based on their concerns even though he had direct communcation from G-d and it all could have been spelled out in the beginning. Rabbi's do not listen to rank and file men. They just don't and I really see no role for rank and file men as the only men that deserve to be respected are Rabbi's and women. But not rank and file men.

Analytical Adam said...

I also wanted to say almost all Orthodox groups support feminism (at least the leaders of the group too) and censor any comments that suggest otherwise. The Orthodox Union does, Chabad does (They wrtie articles on feminism and I once wrote simply that this idea that in the past men had it easy in untrue and I gave the example of my maternal grandfather who had to work very hard to support a family and ran a store and wasn't educated) and they just censor it and don't post it even though I am just expressing a point of view and not attacking anyone. Other groups feel Jewish men are not allowed to work and I have received email from Orthodox groups that only teach women to learn a trade but not men and only help elderly women but don't help elderly men. Disgusting in my opinion. Where I live which is not Modern Orthodox they openly discriminate against Russian teenage boys as they invite every year they invite Russian Teenage girls but don't invite Russian Teenage Boys. Arutz Sheva had a Rabbi on that is interviewed all the time and said that in a Tamar Yonah interview that when he says a man that is upset he deseves it because he was mistreated his wife. The other women on that station thinks it is great that women today are independent and don't have to get married in their 20's. And someone from Fruster on this show and I complained to her about it and she claims I hate women and need therapy which I can't afford. THese are all ORTHODOX GROUPS. There may be some individual Rabbi's who feel differently but overall Feminism is out of control in all the ORthodox orgainzation and even the Rabbi's who disagree are likely afraid to do anything about it because the leadership of their group will punsih them and claim they hate women. I wish I can say differently but I have exprienced so much hatred in so many different situations regarding this issue (and among Orthodox women it is no better) that I do believe it is a problem at the highest level of Orthodoxy and Rabbinic Judaism and this needs to change. So many Orthodox Jewish women and men for that matter are brainwashed by feminism. I'm sorry I am posting so much I just have to be honest with my own experiences and what I see when going on the internet on other Orthodox sites. I know it may be hard for you to admit this because you are afraid you have suffer consequences for thinking it is a problem in the observant world but in the end by not standing up to it you may suffer consequences anyway because of the evils of this movement that exist to a very large extent in the Orthodox world as well although I hope this doesn't happen to you.

Rebecca K. Grider said...

Mrs. T,

Just as I support the most idealized version of the American Constitution, I support the idealized (and in my mind, pure) version of feminism: it's about equality of choice as well as protection, legal protection that wasn't always offered to women.

I was raised by a very liberated mother and she stressed the fact that the feminism she taught me was not about forcing any woman into one choice or another but instead the ability to have those choices. For me, who always felt a little "off" because I never was interested in fashion, boys, babysitting or dreaming of a big white wedding, it felt liberating. I learned that I could pursue an education and a career, that I was not caught as were her contemporaries in a "family/children only" lifestyle.

Let me reiterate, and I feel confident that I've commented enough that it goes without saying - I am NOT denigrating your choice or the choice of any woman who wishes to stay at home with her children. I think it's a wonderful thing to be able to do that and I would vociferously defend your right to do so. Your choice, from how I was raised, is as much a feminist choice as is mine to have a career and eschew marriage. And I always knew that if I were to ever change my mind and seek the chance to have children I'd want to stay home with them if only because my mother has said that she so enjoyed doing so for one of my brothers and myself (she stayed home until we started school) and regretted not being able to do so when my youngest brother was born (that is a long, private family story that removed my father from providing for my mother to stay at home).

I just don't want you to think that I subscribe to the "work no matter what or you're letting feminism down" sort of mindset. Not at all. I just appreciate the fact that I can be a complete, equal member of society and participate in our political life as well as know that I am not getting paid less than my male colleague even though we have the same position. That's what feminism has done for me.

For those who lament that society is set up to reward the working mother with govt subsidies and nothing supports the work at home mother, I can tell you that it sometimes feels that society supports families more than individuals. Colleagues leave early for family committments and I pick up the slack. There are tax breaks for married couples, couples with children, etc. that I cannot take advantage of. I also pay taxes to support public schools though I shall never have a child to attend those schools. I try to keep in mind, however, that it's part of a civilized society to offer education to all - some of the children who attend public school come from less than exemplary homes and hopefully they are able to rise above the horrible conditions through getting a good education. So I wholeheartedly pay those taxes. I also pick up the slack at work, feeling that it's part of being a good colleague to support my coworkers just as they have when I've had to come in late to take my dog to the vet - it's part and parcel of looking out for one another as best we can.

I don't think there needs to be any sort of conflict between the working women of the world and the stay at home moms of the world - we're all taking different paths that best suit our outlooks, philosophies and family needs. Sure, the working moms might think the SAH moms are throwing away their potential by not working, but the SAH moms have to be firm in their knowledge that what they are doing will be appreciated by those who matter most - their children and families.

As for those who are seeking to push you to work, I'm sorry they feel the need to say those things instead of recognizing that you have made a career choice, one that is not only valid, but laudable. You could always answer that you are currently a mother-to-be and in a few months are looking forward to a promotion: full-fledged mommy!

MarkyMark said...

To Rebecca K. Grider,

Save your comments on 'good feminism'; there is NO SUCH THING! That's like telling a Jew that there's such an animal as a good Nazi-uh, no way...

@Analytical Adam,

I have to LAUGH at feminists who say that men led easy, fun lives prior to marriage-wrong! Men led hard lives from when they were born. For example, many boys went to work in the coal mines or some other fun, fulfilling workplace when they were 9-10 years old; no matter what job you had in a mine, it was hard and dangerous.

Even if a boy grew up on a farm, you're talking about hard, back breaking work in all kinds of weather, and doing it sunup to sundown. Oh, and they didn't have any mechanical aids to do the work, either; they had no tractors, vacuum silos, or anything else. Everything was manual labor. The farmer might have a little help for the horse drawn plow, which would do ONE furrow at a time! I could go on, but you get my point.

The cold, hard fact of the matter is this: men and women had it hard back in the day! They didn't speak of fulfilling yourself in the workplace either; no, they were concerned with more basic things-like mere survival.

I'm out of here. I'm going to close out before I get really angry! Feminists...I'm going to shut up now. Good night...


Anonymous said...

To the comment comparing Nazis to Jews, I won't even respond, that's too out there for words.
But as to the rest of Mark's post. No one doubts men had it tough back in the day, as did women. However, it is a fact that they also enjoyed more freedom and rights (in property, in custody cases, in inheritance, etc).

Furthermore, when people discuss the time before feminism, they are usually referring to the modern era, the 20th century. There is no doubt that the average middle class man in the 1930s or 1950s had far more freedom than his female counterpart (in education, in freedom of movement, in sexual relations). And he certainly didn't work any harder than she (as far as I know, the average middle class North American was not working in the mines before feminism).

Rebecca K. Grider said...


Thank you for pointing out that MarkyMark perhaps went out on a very unstable limb with his analogy.

I do not seek to change anyone's mind and bring them into the feminist fold. I simply wish to explain what I mean when I use the term feminism.

My wish is that those women who stay home and those women who choose to work can learn to respect each other's choices and be glad for the fact that they can both make those choices, which I believe is a good aspect of feminism - the ability to choose.

I don't feel the need to "make" women think as I do. If anyone thinks that any comment I've made was an attempt to do so, I wholeheartedly apologize. That was never my intent. I do wish that all of us women can agree that while some of us are on different paths, we can respect our different viewpoints, choices and values.