Israel, Politics, Sex & Gender

A little L'chaim here…

go, girls!
Two new Orthodox girls schools in Jerusalem, you’re thinking, yeah, so? Well, but lookie here, it turns out these schools are actually doing something a little different ( hold breath, squeeeze fists tight). The Shalom Hartman Institute, which already has a junior high and high school for boys, opened a girls middle school (grades 7-9), and educator Beverly Gribetz started a girls school called Tehilla for 9th and 10th graders.
JTA writes,

With a decidedly liberal bent that includes allowing girls to study Talmud and lead prayer services, the schools are positioning themselves to challenge the status quo in girls’ religious education in Jerusalem and throughout the Orthodox world.
“Hartman is very clearly flying the feminist flag,” Hartman parent Lori Glashofer said.
Talmud study is absent from the majority of Orthodox girls schools in Israel and girls leading prayer services is virtually unheard of in the Orthodox world. School officials at Hartman and Tehilla also say they will not discourage girls from going to the army, whereas most Orthodox schools in Israel encourage girls to avoid compulsory military duty by exercising the option to do national service instead.
Additionally, a revolutionary new program will bring a sex-education curriculum to both the boys and girls — one of the first ever among religious schools in Israel.

I know its chichi to rag on David Hartman these days, but you know, I can only applaud the guy. Whatever you think of him, his institutions have supported great strides into pluralism and progressive Orthodoxy. The only Mizrachi egal minyan I’ve ever heard of met in one of their buildings (I hope it’s still going). It can only be for the good.

10 thoughts on “A little L'chaim here…

  1. I was a member of a Sephardi/Mizrahi egal minyan in Jerusalem that did not meet in any Hartman building. So I guess there are at least two!

  2. It might be the same minyan. I know there was a Mizrachi egal minyan meeting in Hartman in 2001-02 (though I didn’t know its name), and I know that Degel Yehudah is a Mizrachi egal minyan meeting in Baka in 2007, so it’s possible that the minyan moved to a new location in the intervening time.

  3. Kol HaKavod to Rav Hartman and crowd. (If only the kids were at school but that’s not there fault!)
    Of course we need this in Modi’in and elsewhere and more in J’lem. Too bad it’s mostly (not just) Anglos and people who spent time abroad in the US and Europe. But I can’t blame the schools for that.

  4. I love that “sisterhood is powerful” icon so much. It initiated me into the wilds of feminism when I was a senior in high school. I found the book Sisterhood is poweful, with that icon in red on the cover, in a used book store and got alternately confused and highly enlightened, and mainly raged-out, by “the myth of the vaginal orgasm” [that one was pure trash in retrospect]; the politics of housework [awesome]; rape culture awareness [well, it kept me safer]; and the various treatises for a separate peace from men.

  5. 1. Degel Yehuda is officially a “Synagogue”, not a “minyan” since it joined the (practically dead) Masorti movement recently.
    2. most Orthodox schools in Israel encourage girls to avoid compulsory military duty by exercising the option to do national service instead.
    The way to avoid the army is not to “do national service instead”, since national service is voluntary. Dati girls who don’t go to the army simply file a form stating they are “religious” and do not travel on the sabbath and keep kosher, which awards them with an exemption.

  6. Degel Yehuda is officially a “Synagogue”, not a “minyan” since it joined the (practically dead) Masorti movement recently.
    Actually it’s not, at least not officially. The Masorti movement in Israeli classifies its institutional members as either havurot or kehilot (the latter being more like what Americans think of as a synagogue). Degel Yehudah is a havurah.

  7. So I take it back. I davened with the havura of Degel Yehouda, just not at Hartman (it moved around people’s living rooms). And why is it interesting that they affiliated with Masorti? I heard about it after a special Sephardi Kabbalat Shabbat they held at Moreshet Avraham, and most of the members seemed to belong to Masorti congregations. And Amit, if you think the Masorti movement is practically dead, I encourage you to come spend a shabbat in Ramat Aviv, where my kehilla seems to be doing quite fine.

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