A Daughter’s Tribute to Shimon ben Shraga

I recently finished The Watchmaker's Daughter, a sensitive  and touching memoir by Sonia Taitz. Taitz grew up as the child of Holocaust survivors in Washington Heights, New York City, where my husband and I also lived for a time. It turns out that we attended the same synagogue as her … [Read more...]

Is Hyper-Modesty about Female Empowerment?

NRG published a story about a pamphlet distributed to homes in Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, urging women to wear shalim, or cloaks. If you have a copy of the pamphlet, please let me know. According to the pamphlet, the purpose of wearing a shal is "to cover the outline and shape of the body and … [Read more...]

How Different Are Boys and Girls?

Boys are good at math. Girls are good at multi-tasking. Men talk less, and women are more empathetic. But are these differences a function of biology, or social conditioning? Do they even exist? The gap between male and female cognitive ability, as indicated by intelligence testing, has shrunk to … [Read more...]

Does Judaism Require “Submission” within Marriage?

"Submission" is a buzz word that I have heard around the net—not to God, but to one's husband. The idea is that to maintain a happy marriage, the wife should put her husband first and allow him to make all of the decisions. Most women who write about being submissive appear to be fundamentalist … [Read more...]

Are Rabbis Too Strict about Birth Control and Abortion?

The Orthodox website Kipa.co.il billed the Kolech conference on fertility as an "anti-Puah" event. Puah is an institute that helps couples with issues related to sexual health and fertility in a halachic framework. (A representative of Kolech insisted that the headline was invented by Kipa.) I … [Read more...]

In Which My Daughter and I Are Happy

On the day before my first-grader's siddur party to celebrate receiving her first prayer-book, she brought a note home from school. The teacher had written the following for my daughter to memorize: "I am honored to invite Mr. RH, head of the local education ministry, to say a few words."  I asked … [Read more...]

Simchat Torah Suggestions

Now that we're through kvetching about our Yom Kippur experiences, we can start analyzing Simchat Torah.Simchat Torah is a difficult holiday for Orthodox women. It seems like the men are having the fun, while the women are sitting around waiting, watching, and mostly talking. I don't mind sitting … [Read more...]

Ten Lessons for Our Daughters

My older sister, a long-time fan of this blog, sent me some suggestions for raising Orthodox girls (but they could apply to anyone) and challenged me to add a few of my own. Hers are marked with an asterisk.*Be educated and self-confident enough to know that you can support yourself if necessary.*If … [Read more...]

The Truth about Nursing in the Ezrat Nashim

Which of the following situations is disturbing, distracting, or inappropriate in shul? Cracking open a bag of Bamba for a toddler, who proceeds to distribute the contents around the shul Hansel and Gretel style. Shoving chairs right and left while pushing a monster stroller through the … [Read more...]

“Tzniut” Meme– Modest dress by Jewish women

A couple of my friends recently stopped covering their hair in public (as required by Jewish law, according to most Orthodox rabbis). I wasn't privy to either one's reasons for doing so, but I can imagine some possibilities: They don't "believe" in it any longer or think that it's halachically … [Read more...]