Anat Hoffman, Israeli feminist arrested for Kotel service, finds cause for optimism as well as anger.
Special To The Jewish Week
It is the first morning of the Hebrew month of Kislev, and ordinarily Anat Hoffman would be surrounded by a diverse community of women celebrating Rosh Chodesh, singing in the shadow of Judaism’s holiest site, the Kotel. Instead, Hoffman, who is 58 and the chairwoman of the multidenominational prayer group known as Women of the Wall, sits on the other side of the world in a Manhattan restaurant, railing and reflecting — and rejoicing a bit too.
Yale’s Paula Hyman pushed for women’s equality within Judaism.
A graduate student at Columbia University in 1972, Paula Hyman was part of a dozen Jewish feminists who delivered a manifesto — demanding full equality for women in the practice of Conservative Judaism — to the annual meeting of the Rabbinical Assembly, the movement’s rabbinical group.
I'll admit I did not know who Esther Broner was until she died on Monday. But I certainly knew what she is most famous for: the feminist haggadah. Though her professional life was devoted to academia--a professor of literature at Wayne State, Sarah Lawrence College and sometimes the University of Haifa--to say nothing of writing her many novels, Broner will be forever associated with feminist seders.
A few weeks ago I attended a relatively small invitation-only gathering at the Upper West Side’s Congregation B’nai Jeshurun to discuss “Jewish identity, who is a Jew, membership in the Jewish community and outreach, in Israel and the Diaspora.”
As you might imagine, that was a lot to pack into a four-hour meeting. (And next month, we’ll reconvene to resolve the Israel-Arab conflict, or at least the Israel-Palestine conflict, ha ha.)
Since the conversation was off the record, not to mention a bit all over the place, I didn’t blog about it at the time. However, one thing that really struck me: how several high-profile participants, including one who has been quite outspoken about recognizing patrilineal descent, preceded their comments with “I’m not a big proponent of outreach, but…”