Women in public

The place of women in the public sphere is becoming a source of controversy. Soldiers have walked out of events featuring singing women, women’s images have been removed from advertising hoardings, separation between men and women on public transport has been challenged.

Provoked by the situation, Shay Charka produced an illustration , to which we asked for responses.

Kol B’Isha Erva

This phrase emerges from a discussion in the Babylonian Talmud about prayer, and has been extrapolated by some to indicate that a man must never hear a woman sing, since it serves as an erotic temptation. Kol B’Isha means a woman’s voice. The word “Erva” is open to several interpretations. In rabbinic leadership it is usually understood to mean “lewdness”, but for a more literal translation click here

The Secret of Rachel Azaria and Bnai Jeshurun

June 20, 2013 by

Add Comment

First appeared in Haaretz blog in Hebrew, 17/6/13

Here’s a story for you: With the help of Makom, the leaders of the Bnei Jeshurun community in Manhattan arrange a meeting with Rachel Azaria, Jerusalem council member of the Jerusalemites party.

They hear of her battles for a pluralistic Jerusalem, the fight for afternoon schooling, the struggle against the exclusion of women, and more. And they look to understand from her what New Politics is all about.

azaria point

Azaria has three children and a baby. It’s the evening, and she has to be on Skype with New York. Her husband is on reserve duty, and her father arrives at her apartment in Katamonim to help out with dinner and showers. To Full Post

There is a time for silence, and a time to speak out

October 18, 2012 by

Add Comment

it is not a good time to be a jewish woman.

it should be. but it isn’t.

in israel, Anat Hoffman and others are intimidated and arrested at the Kotel. they were singing, saying the shema, and wearing tallitot. Disturbing the peace. They were raising their voices and making their presence felt. Which doesn’t go down too well with the black-hatted bully-boys who are claiming ownership over the public spaces in Israel.

And here in the UK, in the inside closed world of haredim, it appears that one woman (or possibly more) have been taken advantage of and coerced into improper sexual activities. their leaders have successfully nurtured a culture of mistrust of the outsiders, so they won’t report it, and the cover-ups and gossip thrives. and while we all speculate who the rabbis are. who knew what and why they aren’t saying. or why they are saying some things and not others, and the power games between the various factions continue. Amongst all of that are women who are being intimidated into silence. To Full Post

Were the Bet Shemesh protests about gender?

January 1, 2012 by

Add Comment

Last week, Israel’s first mass demonstration in protest of the increasing waves of Haredi violence against women took place in Beit Shemesh.

It was a remarkable event, in its strength and diversity. There were speakers representing a range of organizations, Knesset members from five different political parties — including three women, two of whom are heads of their respective parties — and citizens religious and secular who have become symbols of the struggle against the removal of women from the public sphere.

Yet, while history was being made, the event also raised some difficult questions, such as who the demonstrators are, what are they protesting, and to whom are they addressing their demands? To Full Post

The Washington Connection

December 28, 2011 by

One Comment

It rarely happens that American Jews are more aware of developments in Israel than Israelis.

Yet when the projected ten thousand Israelis marched in Beit Shemesh on Tuesday night, opposing Haredi extremist actions, they were actually following in the footsteps of our own Federation. For the past 15 years, The Jewish Federation has partnered the Greater Washington community with that of Mateh Yehuda – Beit Shemesh in Israel. To Full Post

Piety and Morality

December 28, 2011 by

One Comment

Jews around the world have been shocked by the story of Na’ama: the eight-year-old girl from a religious family in Beit Shemesh who was spat on, cursed and insulted by religious extremists as she made her way to school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5HKtaaws-g To Full Post

Jacqueline Nicholls


Add Comment

The status of women is a problem not just within Israel, and definitely not just not in the right-wing religious community, although they are particularly vociferous.

I’m interested in knowing how Israeli society, the secular one, portrays women. Here in the UK women’s voices are noticably in the minority in current affairs programmes, what is the gender balance in the Israeli media?

Are women’s abilities acknowledged with a balanced shortlist for literary, sporting cultural awards? Or, like the all male shortlist for this year’s BBC’s Sports’ Personality of the Year, are their achievements overlooked? Are Israeli toy manufacturers and retailers behaving similar to Lego, who have started to market products to girls by emphasising the importance to be pretty and pink?

To Full Post

Elka Abrahamson


One Comment

I am a woman of tremendous faith.

I am a rabbi.

My steadfast faith tells me that I am strengthening the Jewish world through my work on behalf of the Jewish People.

It also has me believing that the day will come when Israel, a place I love with a full heart, will give to me, to my 2 daughters what it offers my 2 sons…equal right to sidewalks, bus seats, singing of songs, equal space at the kotel and full faced presence in public space.

This is not too strange a vision, is it? To Full Post

Seth Farber


One Comment

When I was growing up, entertainment in the army was a unifying dimension of American society. Bob Hope’s shows for the USO were broadcast on national television, and it was a commonplace that entertainment in the armed forces was a critical moment in the boosting of morale for soldiers.

How times have changed. To Full Post

Shlomit Naim-Naor


Add Comment

1989 or 1990, I’m 15 or 16 years old.

Place: Raanana. High School.

Class teacher: Male.

Deputy Headmaster: Male.

Headmaster: Male.

Literature teacher: Male.

Teacher of Mishna, Character and Family life – the halacha of married life: Male.

Sociology teacher: Male. To Full Post

© Makom 2011 | Site by illuminea : web presence agency