Orthodox Women Talk: Roundtable about media consumption

OWTHi, everyone! I know I pretty much never post twice in a day, but I’m hosting this month’s Orthodox Women Talk. Our panelists include:

  • Tali Simon
  • Melissa Amster
  • Ruchi Koval
  • Rivki Silver
  • Keshet Starr
  • Estee Lavitt
  • and yours truly.

This month’s question is this:

How much do you engage in popular music, movies and other forms of entertainment? What factors have contributed to that choice?

Wow! We’ve got a lot of variety in responses. Let’s see what our roundtable panelists have to say... Continue reading

Have you seen my review of Miriam Kosman’s new book about Jewish feminism in this week’s Jewish Home L.A.?

This week’s Jewish Home L.A. contains my review of Circle, Arrow, Spiral: Exploring Gender in Judaismrecently published by Mekor Press and distributed by Menucha Publishers. 

Jewish book on feminism

Miriam Kosman’s outstanding new book about gender within Judaism

Miriam Kosman‘s new book appears at a pivotal point in Jewish history. The role of women in Judaism has dominated the headlines of Jewish media outlets in recent years. Usually, Hareidim are made out to be the bad guys: according to most writers, Hareidi men bully women, look down on us, and short change us in any way humanly possible.

For someone like me — a feminist who willingly joined the ranks of those observant Jews who lean to the right — this kind of “news” makes us want to bang our heads into the wall in frustration. Not only do we perceive the Jewish world differently, many of us chose Orthodoxy in some part because mainstream feminism had failed us. Frankly, we felt more supported and appreciated as human beings, as Jews, and as women within our new community than we did in in our former, non-Orthodox world. We feel respected by the vast majority of Hareidi men, including by our husbands, sons, and rabbis. And while we do see plenty of areas in which our community can and should improve, many of the issues targeted by reporters and crusaders hold completely different meanings for us than for secular people.

Many of the recent books about Judaism written by Modern Orthodox authors have compounded the problem. They report on our world as outsiders (sometimes trumpeting all along how because they are, loosely-speaking, “Orthodox” they therefore have an insider view), and often articulate outrage while playing fast and loose with facts. Yet, until now, few books for the English speaking world have expressed the genuine insider perspective as to why Orthodox women don’t participate in many time-bound positive commandments, are excluded from certain communal rules, and so on. 

Miriam Kosman‘s new book remedies that. Continue reading

Visiting elsewhere today for the Orthodox Women Talk roundtable

Rivki Silver from Life in the Married Lane organized a Jewish women’s roundtable, Orthodox Women Talk. Today’s topic is how to deal with long services in synagogue when you may or may not understand the language. 7 bloggers — including me — give responses over at this week’s host’s, Keshet Starr’s, blog. I found myself agreeing with a lot of what the other women said (okay, pretty much all of it). One of the things that I liked most was that the women selected reflect different stages of life and different backgrounds. Check it out. (If you’re so inclined…)

New wacky Passover poetry

I’m not going to have much time to post in length before Pesach hits next week, but I’m going to try to share something small every day to make up for it.

So here’s your tiny morsel of Passover-related kookiness for today:

(throat-clearing)

You cleansed the windows of mud

And you scrubbed all the toys in your tub

But you still won’t be through

When Pesach is due

If you don’t clean chometz off the rug.

 

Free writing tip…don’t be afraid to write bad poetry. And if you’d like to share your own corny/hammy/couldn’t-hechsher-if-it-tried Pesach poetry, just add it in the comments.

Passover looming ahead: Not quite panicking yet

Due to the onslaught of housework, etc., that Pesach entails, as well as some nifty work assignments, I’ll be posting less for the next month or so. However, I do want to share with my readers several bits of good news: Continue reading

My completely unsolicited review of “Megillas Lester”

After all my recent ranting and raving about Esther in pop culture, I watched a video this afternoon with the husband and kids that made me feel better. I’d first heard about it on Tablet, then on the OU’s website.

animated video kol rom

Megillas Lester–a hilarious film in the Purim Spiel tradition.

Kolrom media, who has produced a lot of music videos and shorts for the Orthodox audience (like the video for the song “Ana Avda” and a hilarious bit on Aish.com called “Sicko” about how NOT to do the mitzvah of visiting the sick), has just released a video about Purim that refers to all the midrashim and commentaries I talked about in my rant. And it’s funny. Although Esther doesn’t make an appearance. Even Mordechai barely shows up.

That’s because “Megillas Lester” is about a boy, Lester, who dreams he has messed up the Purim story so much that Esther doesn’t have a chance to become queen. And Mordechai doesn’t get a chance to save the king. So who will save the Jewish people from Haman’s evil plot? Continue reading