Rabbi Yael Ridberg San Diego, CA

Really interesting article Robbie, but I am not sure one service in one shul in one city is indicative of the trend you identify.

As a rabbi working to inspire attachment and imagination regarding the Jewish past, present and future, there is no doubt that the relationship with Israel is at the heart of the challenge, but it is not the only challenge.

It is true that there is a gap between Israel and the Diaspora, one that is being written about and discussed by the American Jewish community a great deal (in Peter Beinart’s book The Crisis of Zionism, in Rabbi Sid Schwarz’s new book Jewish Megatrends – to name two recent publications.) The gap is political, social, and definitely religious. The image just this week of Israeli police in full riot gear needing to protect women who wish to pray at the Kotel is a painful example of such a gap.

But to decry a spiritual community in New York that is one of the inspiring examples of how Jewish life can be relevant and compelling is not useful, and most certainly is not an example of the “dying of the light.” (more…)

Continue ReadingRabbi Yael Ridberg San Diego, CA

Jacqueline Nicholls

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?


Continue ReadingJacqueline Nicholls

Shelter from the Storm: Bat Melech-Miklat

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Nowhere to go for Victims of Domestic Violence

A Global Problem with Particular Needs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 20-50% of all women will be subject to domestic violence in some form during their lives.

In Israel, there are 14 women’s shelters to deal with this problem. However, Orthodox women in abusive relationships often do not take advantage of social services provided for them by the state. They fear the stigma associated generally with welfare services in the Orthodox community. They also have special religious needs, and more children than the average battered woman. In spite of the challenges, the number of religious women seeking help is on the rise. The number of religious women who called domestic abuse hotlines nearly tripled from 477 in 2004 to 1,402 in 2007.


Continue ReadingShelter from the Storm: Bat Melech-Miklat