11 09, 2014

Why women must start Shabbat before men

By |2014-09-11T09:21:15-07:00September 11th, 2014|Thoughts|

                            Why Do Women Light the Sabbath Candles Long before the Sabbath Begins?[1]   If people would take the time to look at the bulletin of an Orthodox Synagogue, they would find something very curious. The women are instructed to light candles several minutes before the men are scheduled to attend the Mincha service, [...]

7 09, 2013

Female reactions and feelings saying Kaddish

By |2013-09-07T22:09:27-07:00September 7th, 2013|Book Reviews|

By Israel Drazin     Kaddish: Women’s Voices By M. Smart and B. Ashkenas Urim Publications, 2013, 271 pages ISBN 978-965-524-150-1   Smart and Ashkenas collected some fifty essays by articulate women of the various Jewish denominations in which they tell poignant emotional tales about relatives who died and their experiences in saying the mourner’s [...]

14 08, 2013

Kol Isha is essentially dead

By |2014-01-23T05:18:43-07:00August 14th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                  By Israel Drazin Virtually all societies and religions, if not all, are paternalistic, belittle women, discriminate against them, and require them to dress and act in ways that preclude them from possibly enticing men. Judaism is no exception. While Judaism is not monolithic and Jews differ widely, many Jews do not treat [...]

4 08, 2013

Lilith’s Cave

By |2013-08-04T07:27:23-07:00August 4th, 2013|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

                                       Review by Israel Drazin   Lilith’s Cave Jewish Tales of the Supernatural Selected and retold by Howard Schwartz Oxford University Press, 1988, 274 pages ISBN 978-0-506726-6   What is thought-provoking about this book, its fifty Jewish tales of demons and the supernatural, is that most of the demons are women. Yes, Satan appears, [...]

4 08, 2013

More on women in the Bible

By |2013-08-04T05:53:47-07:00August 4th, 2013|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

                                                                       By Israel Drazin   Dr. Naomi Harris Rosenblatt examines the biblical report of the lives and activities of seventeen biblical women in her well-researched, insight-filled, and frequently innovative reading of biblical tales in her 2005 book After the Apple. The women lived as second-class citizens under the authority and control of men: fathers, [...]

4 08, 2013

The Thrice-Told Tale of the Likeable and Loathsome Lilith

By |2013-08-04T04:20:17-07:00August 4th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                   By Israel Drazin[1]   Aside from the few astonishing legends about regal amazons who retained control over their spouses and men in general, world history has unfortunately continually assigned a submissive and subservient role to women in the home and in society. Since Judaism is not monolithic, Jewish literature contains both positive and negative [...]

2 08, 2013

Women’s Lives in Biblical Times

By |2013-08-02T08:02:40-07:00August 2nd, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                                                                      By Israel Drazin   Many people recognize that women have still not entirely succeeded in participating in society as they should. How were women portrayed in the Hebrew Bible? Professor Jennie R. Eberling answers this question in her very readable and informative 2010 book Women’s Lives in Biblical Times where she analyses biblical [...]

18 06, 2013

Disparaging statements about women

By |2013-06-18T07:00:46-07:00June 18th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                                                               By Israel Drazin   I think that women should be treated with respect and have the same rights as men. Many ancient Jewish sages felt the same, but not all of them. The question was raised[1] why did the very wise Greek philosopher Aristotle,[2] disparage women? The answer given is that he was [...]

14 01, 2013

Bizarre Wedding Practices

By |2013-01-14T07:38:21-07:00January 14th, 2013|Thoughts|

                                                                       By Israel Drazin   Dina and I were married 52 years ago by a Hasidic rabbi in Germany. His wife and children were murdered by the Nazis. He remarried a woman whose family was also murdered. At the synagogue services on the Shabbat before our wedding ceremony, when I was called to the [...]

18 12, 2012

Soloveitchik on life and women

By |2012-12-18T07:17:13-07:00December 18th, 2012|Book Reviews|

        Family Redeemed By Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik Ktav Publishing House, 2000, 207 pages   This is one of about a half dozen volumes published after Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik death (1903-1993) based on writings he never published. This one, the first of the posthumous volumes, contains six essays that focus on family relationships. [...]

5 07, 2012

A Rational View of Judaism

By |2012-07-05T13:29:01-07:00July 5th, 2012|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

From Defender to Critic The Search for a New Jewish Self By Dr. David Hartman Jewish Life Publishing, 2012, 303 pages Rabbi Dr. David Hartman disagrees with the views of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (1903-1993), the former Dean of Yeshiva University and spiritual leader of the Rabbinical Council of America, the organization of Orthodox rabbis. [...]

1 12, 2011

Why listen to clergy?

By |2011-12-01T03:59:06-07:00December 1st, 2011|Thoughts|

By Israel Drazin   Why do people feel that they should listen to their clergy? There is nothing in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, or Koran that says that its adherents must obey rabbis, priests, and imams. In fact, Judaism didn’t have rabbis until around the year 70 of the Common Era, after the second [...]

14 11, 2011

May women say the mourner’s kaddish?

By |2011-11-14T05:06:30-07:00November 14th, 2011|Book Reviews|

A Daughter’s Recitation of Mourner’s Kaddish By Rahel Berkovits JOFA, 2011, 93 pages   Orthodox Judaism, like American and other judges, makes legal decisions based on precedences, not only on what modern people think is correct. When a question arises, Orthodox rabbis examine what has been said about the matter in the past, and scrutinize [...]

21 10, 2011

Some Thoughts about God

By |2011-10-21T04:06:04-07:00October 21st, 2011|Thoughts|

Some Thoughts about God By Israel Drazin   The popular view that God is ever present and meticulously involved, such as making detailed decisions about and controlling every raindrop and every falling leaf, and counting and recording the good and bad deeds that humans perform, is so well known that it doesn’t bear repeating. So [...]

23 08, 2011

Did Rabbi Slolveitchik make a mistake?

By |2012-06-05T04:29:35-07:00August 23rd, 2011|Thoughts|

               One of the great tragedies of Judaism is the way that it handles divorces. The rabbis interpreted the Torah to state that only men can initiate marriages and divorces. Thus if a woman wants a divorce but her husband refuses to give it to her, she is chained (Hebrew, aguna) to her husband forever. [...]

23 08, 2011

There is a need for change

By |2011-08-23T06:03:54-07:00August 23rd, 2011|Book Reviews|

The God Who Hates Lies Confronting & Rethinking Jewish Tradition By David Hartman with Charlie Buckholtz Jewish Lights Publishing, 2011, 192 pages               David Hartman points out that Modern Orthodox Judaism has in many respects been frozen in suspended animation, refusing to budge and grow despite moral imperatives and logic, resulting in many people [...]

7 01, 2011

Prayers and women

By |2011-03-15T09:44:31-07:00January 7th, 2011|Book Reviews, Thoughts|

On Changes in Jewish Liturgy Options and Limitations By Daniel Sperber Urim Publications, 2010, 221 pages   Reviewed by Israel Drazin             This is the second recent volume where Daniel Sperber, professor, rabbi, author of thirty books and more than four hundred articles, a leading expert on Jewish laws and customs, addresses what many consider [...]

7 01, 2011

Discrimination against women

By |2011-03-15T09:48:15-07:00January 7th, 2011|Book Reviews, Jewish Books, Thoughts|

Women and Men in Communal Prayer Halakhic Perspectives Edited by Chaim Trachtman, MD Ktav Publishing House, 2010, 418 pages   Reviewed by Israel Drazin             One of the great world tragedies is the systematic exclusion of women from many activities and positions, making them, in essence, only partial citizens, reminiscent of blacks being considered only three-fifths [...]