The Next Wave of Jewish Feminism

Questions for an Unfinished Revolution

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How much is the socialization of Jewish boys and girls changing? Are Jewish children being exposed tomultiple models of how to be Jewish men and women? Are school children still paired into model heterosexual families for model celebrations of shabbat? What do teacher's behaviors and ritual participation reflect about Jewish families and society? I want Jewish feminists to support children--including their own--as they explore their gender and sexual identities.

I want every feminist to recognize the connection between supporting the goals of Jewish feminism and supporting Jewish gays and lesbians. If we honestly value women as much as we value men, then our daughters can love whomever, as long as they are happy. These are feminist, not just gay and lesbian, issues. Ezrat Nashim demanded the right of all women to be Conservative rabbis, but only heterosexual women now have that right.

Finally, I want Jewish feminists to be creating lives for themselves that are more fulfilling, not more exhausting. This means that if women are going to prepare additional seder readings, then men will have to assume some of the traditionally female Pesach duties. It also means that we need to balance a Jewish feminism of the head with one of the body. Like all American women, Jewish feminists are deeply effected by society's messages about what we should look like. Are we raising our daughters and sons with healthy body images? Are we modeling a balanced life?

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Tamara Cohen

Tamara Cohen is a Jewish feminist writer and educator currently living with her partner is Gainesville, Florida. She is the spiritual leader of a community in Litchfield County, CT and is on the board of Brit Tzedek V'Shalom: The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace.