How to Raise a Jewish Feminist
Some useful tips for raising children in a religion--and world--that still tends to privilege what is male.
4) Books. So many of the videos and books in our homes send messages that are unhelpful, whether it is Cinderella or even The Cat in the Hat. For younger children, read In God's Name by Sandy Sasso. All older kids should receive at their bar and bat mitzvah a copy of Judith Plaskow's Standing Again At Sinai. And teens and parents should check out a wonderful new anthology and study guide by Hadassah, Jewish Women: Living the Challenge.
5) Rituals and holidays. Don't just dress up for Purim, but make sure the story is told since it is one of the few Jewish holiday stories with a female lead. Passover has already several feminist rituals, like a cup for the prophetess Miriam and the placement of an orange on the seder plate. With your daughters, start participating in monthly Rosh Hodesh (new moon) groups, which are filled with creative energy.
I know my daughters will not live their lives free of sexism in the general society or in the Jewish community. But by raising them to be proud female Jews, I hope they will have the confidence and tools to deal with the bigots they will encounter and the barriers they will inevitably face. And perhaps, in their journeys, they will have the chutzpah to smash a couple of idols along the way.
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