I was raised in an egalitarian culture and graduated from Barnard College, a women’s liberal arts college.
I am now integrated into the Orthodox world where the synagogue, an important center of Jewish life, has a strict separation of roles and the yeshiva offers the boys a significantly different curriculum than the girls.
.Do you know that I am unable to help my ten year old son with his mishna and gemora homework. Part of me thinks this is completely absurd. How can we continue to deny an entire gender access to our culture’s core knowledge? (How many women do you know who are proficient in the Shita Mekubetzes, the Ketzos, Rabbi Akiva Eger–even at a JOFA convention? I wouldn’t expect to find more than a handful, if that many). But then the other half of me is humble.
I’m a mother of boys–six of them. This is how they’ve been doing it since the beginning of time, and they are the greatest men (yes they were all men) who ever walked the face of the earth, Moses, Jeremiah, the Tanaim the Amoraim, the Vilna Gaon, all the way to the Piazeczna Rebbe. So who am I to suggest that its all wrong (at an alanon meeting I heard someone say something similar about the writings of Bill W. so kal vahomer, how much more does this apply to our sages)? But even so, the feminism is still stuck in my bone marrow and at times it is hard for me to live inside of this.
Anybody with any thoughts, feelings or insights on this subjects?