Some of the readings address battles which have largely been fought, and which younger feminists, even younger Jewish feminists may feel are over. Yet, the truth is we keep revisiting them: in the secular world, when new movements form to try to make contraception illegal once again; in the Jewish world,women are still outnumbered as institutional leaders, presidents, and rabbis, in both worlds, getting paid less and receiving fewer benefits, being penalized for having children, and being constantly bombarded by bad science about how we ought to go back to the home. And of course, the battle is not won: not in Judaism, where there are still branches of Judaism in which women do not count, communities in which women have been so under pressure as those who lead men astray that against their rabbis' wills, they have taken on wearing clothes that cover them more thoroughly than any Muslim full-body covering, some even covering their eyes and being led about inthe street by children.And of courswe, there is a world full of other traditions, religions and societies in which women remain bound, hand and foot by men to whom they did not wish to wed, where they live only to serve, to husbands (in the sense of that word: one who dominates or cultivates) to whom they remain property.
From her essay on Song of Songs:
"Open to me," Says the lover, but women understandably hesitate to do so. "I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them?" Better to stay safely in one's place, not make waves. For what happens -according to respected Jewish tradition- to a woman who goes public with her spiritual need, whose yearning is larger than a kitchen, who does not hide behind a mehitza? What happens to the learned Beruria...Her devoted husband Rabbi Meir instigates one of his disciples to seduce her in order to prove that women are flighty. When the disciple finally overcomes her resistance, she kills herself for shame, but no one seems to think Rabbi Meir should be ashamed....What happens to women at the Wall? We are not speaking of allegory here, but real life. Women who dare to pray aloud with Torah in hand at the Kotel, the Western Wall in Jeruslem, have been spat on, cursed, called whore. They have had chairs thrown at them, they have been beaten up and hospitalize, and they - they, not their assailants- have been arrested. ....As it is uncannily written, "The Keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.