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October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
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Ultra Orthodox Women Speak Up: The Dialogue Is Now Open

A Jewish woman prays beside Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.

A Jewish woman prays beside Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem.
Photo Credit: Sharon Perry/Flash90

As a religious woman, I understand that Judaism is not simply defined by all of the people that follow it. Religious communities are not exempt from sexual or monetary crimes. Unfortunately, racism, sexism homophobia, and criminality exist. Don’t protest in outrage when these failings are exposed, with claims of “chillul Hashem” (embarrassment to Judaism and G-d). It is the act of denial and sweeping it under the rug which is the actual “chillul Hashem”. Ultimately, G-d is good and loving so do not hide behind misinterpretations of his Torah, or self righteousness to excuse ugly and hateful behavior. As humans, we are all flawed but as religious Jews with the Torah to guide us, we have the means to be an understanding and compassionate people. I appreciate both Deborah and Chaya’s strength and honesty and the truth in both their voices. We all have a voice, and now there is finally the dialogue to speak and be heard.
As members of the Jewish nation we are obligated to continually strive towards perfection. The only way to continue our ascent up the ladder of spiritual refinement is to honestly address our issues as a nation and open up a dialogue about how to responsibly overcome them. This is the only way we can honor our communities as a whole from within. As we prepare to receive the Torah this Shavuos, let’s keep in mind that honest self-examination is a precedent to true spiritual achievement.

About the Author: When Nina Safar is not updating recipes on Kosher in the Kitch, she enjoys playing hostess. Never having too much time in the kitchen, she likes recipes that taste great and are easy to make. Kosher in the Kitch features recipes from experienced foodies as well as experimenting cooks. You don’t have to be a chef to cook a good meal! For more great menu ideas and tasty recipes, check out www.kosherinthekitch.com for your next favorite dish. Share your get-fit tips, weight loss battles, and stay-in-shape recipes by emailing nina@kosherinthekitch.com and visiting the Kosher in the Kitch fan page on Facebook.


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18 Responses to “Ultra Orthodox Women Speak Up: The Dialogue Is Now Open”

  1. Abe Aronowski says:

    Nice thought.

    While were on the topic of Ms Feldman and the OTD movement, may I ask why there hasn't been any outcry in response to Footsteps, the "OTD Finishing school" supported by UJA, among other Jewish organizations, who this week had as guest lecturer, Dr. Marlene Winell, who specializes in deprogramming cult members. She was obviously invited to Footsteps to help deprogram Hasidism, I don't think too many Moonies show up at Footsteps.

    A Youtube search of her name tells you what Dr. Marlene Winell is all about and how her mind works, offering steps to move away from religion. See for yourselves.

    Good step towards Jewish unity, UJA.

    Happy Shavuot, UJA.

  2. Abe Aronowski says:

    Nice thought.

    While were on the topic of Ms Feldman and the OTD movement, may I ask why there hasn't been any outcry in response to Footsteps, the "OTD Finishing school" supported by UJA, among other Jewish organizations, who this week had as guest lecturer, Dr. Marlene Winell, who specializes in deprogramming cult members. She was obviously invited to Footsteps to help deprogram Hasidim. I don't think too many Moonies show up at Footsteps.

    A Youtube search of her talks tells you what Dr. Marlene Winell is all about and how her mind works, offering steps to move away from religion. See for yourselves.

    Good step towards Jewish unity, UJA. Is UJA playing dumb, or are they just dumb in regard to the goings on at Footsteps, while acccepting donations from people of all branches of Judaism?

    Happy Shavuot, UJA.

  3. Adel Berman says:

    :) you're a great writer and such a special woman.. mwahh

  4. DeDe Jacobs Komisar says:

    Thanks so much for this! Great response.

  5. Rc Fowler says:

    The author didn't have to wear a wig–she foolishly and ignorantly choose to do so.

    There is no Biblical proscription which requires a woman to hide her hair after she is married–but rather this comes from the corrupt rabbinate!

  6. Chabad is yoytzer min haklal, even though, when I did the Zev Brenner show with him years ago, the one on domestic violence, a chabad woman who had just gotten married called in, and said her husband's rebbe told him to take what he wants if she doesn't give it to him. Chabad is open to technology and education for women. When I wanted to go to college, I had to fight for it, and find a way to pay for it. My parents did not approve, neither did the rebbe in my seminary, Avigdor Miller, who essentially put me in cherem and would not allow other students to speak to me. When I went to get a divorce from a batterer, they said I was the shanda…and I found that out 30 years later, in another state, from a woman who lived next door to my mother in Brooklyn. So I love this Chabad Chaya and now this Chabad woman above, who think they are chassidim from a chassidic background, when they know absolutely nothing about the reality of living in Eastern European style chassidus. Please. This isn't fruit salad. these are people's lives. stop mixing apples and oranges. I have been fighting this stuff for 52 years (yeah, I am older than that), and this is the first time that this has cracked through to secular media, and I am glad. Time for Ohel to stand up to the "rabbis" who have tied their hands for decades and prevented them from going into classrooms to give the standard classes in child self-protection as mandated in the public school system. And it's time for teachers to stand up and demand, that as mandated reporters, they are not interested in obstructing justice and going to jail because a bunch of guys in beards don't want them to call the cops on their buddies.

  7. Unfortunately, racism, sexism homophobia, and criminality exist. Don’t protest in outrage when these failings are exposed, with claims of “chillul Hashem” (embarrassment to Judaism and G-d). It is the act of denial and sweeping it under the rug which is the actual “chillul Hashem”.

    amen sister

  8. Abe Aronowski says:

    "corrupt rabbinate"

    So in your eyes Orthodox Rabbis are all corrupt? Like all people whose name is Fowler and have blue eyes are corrupt.

    I hope you dont talk like that in front of your kids. If you do, youll be the one encouraging them to find solace with the Maharajas Maharishis in India. Will you be happy then?

    I can assure you that folowers of the corrupt rabbinate get tossed into nursing homes with a card sent once a year, much less often (hardly ever) than those who are enlightened like yourself. Be realistic and prepared. Old values are old values. New values are new values.

  9. Abe Aronowski says:

    "corrupt rabbinate"

    So in your eyes Orthodox Rabbis are all corrupt? Like all people whose name is Fowler and have blue eyes are corrupt.

    I hope you dont talk like that in front of your kids. If you do, youll be the one encouraging them to find solace with the Maharajas Maharishis in India. Will you be happy then?

    I can assure you that followers of the "corrupt rabbinate" get tossed into nursing homes with a card sent once a year, much less often (hardly ever) than those who are enlightened like yourself. Be realistic and prepared. Old values are old values. New values are new values.

  10. Tell it like it is, Jeanette. The victims – abused women and children – need honest and informed voices like yours.

  11. Ilbert Phillips says:

    Here is another story by an Orthodox Jewish woman.

  12. Eitan Levy says:

    The religion that the author follows is called Judaism, which follows both the written and oral torah, thus, RABBINIC JUDAISM. According to Jewish law a married woman needs to cover her hair. In the particular community this woman lives in the custom is to do so with a wig. She chooses to be a Jew, and SAYS IN THE ARTICLE that this is a choice. So, what's your problem?

  13. Eitan Levy says:

    Yet another take. More nuanced…

  14. Daniel David Moskovich says:

    The most horrible thing, for me, is the way that "Chaya" was attacked with lashon hara- exactly what frum people are supposed not to do. That was the "counter-argument". Dug-up things (all irrelevant BTW) about Chaya's past, background, etc., leading to a "the mouth that ate pork should not speak words of Torah" conclusion, which was then cheered by idiot readers. Hashem yerachem.

  15. Rc Fowler says:

    Eitan Levy

    What are the Biblical scripture[s[ which proscribe a married woman cover her hair?

  16. Rc Fowler says:

    Mr. Levy did not respond–because there are no Biblical proscriptions which require a married woman to cover her hair in public.

    Its corrupt rabbinic Judaism which requires this nonsense!

  17. Ashira Leah says:

    Rc Fowler Bamidbar 5:18 – The kohen shall have the woman stand before G-d and uncover (pharah) the head of the woman
    This was said to humiliate her, however, it probably would not humiliate her if it was merely tradition. It seems it was most likely law.

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