Identity, Sex & Gender

The Jewish Week assures us that women can have it all!

Elicia Brown writes in this week’s issue of the Federation controlled New York Jewish Week that,

Rabbi Roston, the first woman rabbi to lead a Conservative congregation of this size, wants you to know it can be done: It’s possible to juggle parenthood and the 70-hour workweek that serving a large synagogue entails. “I think that any boundaries in your career should always be self-imposed,” says the rabbi, who is 37, and started at Beth El in July. “We shouldn’t be held back just because we’re women.”

Of course, there are a few caveats, but none any “super-mommy” wouldn’t have at her disposal. She just needs a “live-in nanny,” to help with those less spiritual aspects of parenting, because, “Baths mean ‘hard work and fights,’not conducive to the atmosphere the rabbi wants for those hours with her children.” Of course, that might necessitate a husband who is, well, comfortable. For instance, say, a “senior portfolio manager.” 😉
These exceptionally privileged circumstances are considered normative by the writers of the Federation paper. It is a critical part of their unique brand and vision of Jewish-Feminism.
Full story.

20 thoughts on “The Jewish Week assures us that women can have it all!

  1. Just as a head’s up, Rabbi Roston’s shul is in South Orange, N.J. A different female rabbi is mentioned from Columbia, MD (oddly enough, my home town).

  2. “These exceptionally privileged circumstances are considered normative by the writers of the Federation paper.”
    Having spent 5 years working for UJA/CJA, I can attest to what David is pointing out. You have staff that, more or less, represents your avg yid (making a very avg living), yet lay people (in general, quite wealthy) who make up less than 5% of the community, planning and implementing decisions for the other 95%. A very odd mix.
    In general, I spent most of my time learning how to kiss rich ass to ensure that my funds weren’t cut. A wonderful five years…
    The situation becomes more obscene when you consider that most of our JFS staff married rich, would come to work dressed to the 9’s, tanned, diamonds (I’m not joking), and then proceed to help those “less fortunate” Jews, immigrants, etc.

  3. Can’t blame someone for having cash though. And better to be a have helping the people than a havenot in a selfish pursuit.
    But yeah, don’t pretend the same lifestyle options are available to us all.

  4. One woman told me that she hated the Feminist Movement of yesteryear because it played into victimology. of course she was blond, white, thirty something and had no idea what it was like to be a victim of racism or anti-semitism. For me, t being poor makes it hard to be master, or mistress, of my domain. I cannot simply just get a better job or hire a nanny. I would think this woman would be more careful about taking her own experience and applying it to universal issues.

  5. “Can’t blame someone for having cash though.”
    It’s not about blame, but rather, where we choose to invest our time and energy. In general, MAJOR decisions that were made in the Jewish community that I worked for reflected the self-interest of the wealthiest segments of our community, not the strong, silent majority. There’s a reason why a majority of Jews don’t’ feel comfortable in our shuls, community centers, etc. Slowly but surely we’ll have wonderful museums (walk into any cathedral like shul on a Friday night and you’ll see what I mean) , uh I mean shuls and CJA buildings, to show onlookers how Jews once practiced Judaism.

  6. This is the nasty consequence of paying reporters too much, money. They are no longer middle and working class like they were 50 years ago before television. They only report on the upper income brackets. It goes both ways on the issue of feminism. The New York Times writes all the time on the trend of ivy league women staying home with their kids instead of ruling the world. Of coarse this presumes Ivy leaguers are naturally entitled to ruling the world.

  7. Remember, too, that it’s those awful people with money who are funding all of the grassroots organizations that people like so much — even UJA is now in the game, funding JDub, Storahtelling, etc. So it can’t be entirely true that people with money are so clueless and that their leadership will lead to the demise of the community altogether. And hey, there’d be no museums showcasing that lost culture if there weren’t rich people around to fund them.

  8. Is it me, or is her form of female empowerment having some other woman (working class? immigrant? both?) do the part of mothering she finds inconvenient?

  9. This nauseating article represents no kind of feminism that I know of. In fact, articles on ‘mommy track,’ and ‘having it all’ are quite smarmy, implying that if women juggle hard enough, life will be perfect.
    Thanks for posting, David, but this isn’t feminism; it is elitism.

  10. The other big problem is the unreasonable time expectations placed on rabbis by their congregatns. And, BTW, where’s dad?

  11. “are so clueless and that their leadership will lead to the demise of the community altogether.”
    So clueless that it’s already happening. You heard it hear first.
    It takes a couple of creative minds, a good Jewish book, some nosh and a facilitator to run an excellent, thought provoking Jewish program. We can do without the frills.

  12. Shtreitmel and Miriam,
    I don’t think we are disagreeing with each other. Rather, we are on the same page on this one. Obviously this is elitism, and one socio-economically based.
    I would argue that in fact reporters for the Jewish Week and other papers do not, in fact, make a lot of money, but rather, they are such badly paying jobs that all too often only a rich person can afford to take them. I agree that the lack of representation of the middle class in media is indeed a horrible thing.

  13. “Rather, we are on the same page on this one. ”
    “reporters for the Jewish Week and other papers do not, in fact, make a lot of money”
    And less than that.
    “only a rich person can afford to take them.”
    Again, this rationale extends into certain professions within the Jewish community itself. JFS is the best example.
    BTW, I’ve heard countless stories about non-wealthy Jews working for community who can’t afford Jewish education, kosher food, etc for their children. Disgusting.

  14. “having some other woman (working class? immigrant? both?) do the part of mothering she finds inconvenient”
    Johnsam, do you have kids? if not, i’d hesitate before condemning the institution of childcare. or are you arguing that she should stay home and not work because she has children? or that her husband should stay home and not work because he has children?
    and what does working class mean if not “someone who works”? is it bad to hire working class people as nannies or babysitters or daycare workers? is it bad to hire immigrants for these jobs? why, exactly, if this is what they are qualified to do and (shocker!) might want to do, and if it’s paid decently and they’re treated ok? or are you suggesting that she (and other working parents) treat their nannies poorly?
    honestly, try living it for a sec. you have a job that puts food on the table, that you might like and find rewarding, and that maybe even does some good in the world. you also have children. what exactly are the options for how you spend your time?

  15. ww,
    That’s for responding. No I don’t have kids. As of now, I’m trying to further explain my kvetch.
    Speaking of kvetches, why is this now just a plain old “comment”?

  16. the new york times, for what it’s worth, pays an average of 50 cents a word to freelancers. this is total fucking bubkes. i have been published in the NYTimes, and i can assure you, that i am not a rich stay at hhome mom. i live check to check and forgo things like cable, wifi, a car, etc. let me know where all these high paying writing jobs are, i’ll be right there.

  17. Nobody’s suggesting they stay home, but their is daycare, and babysitting, and I don’t think alot of nannies are treated all that well. Many earn no social security benefits, and have to leave their own children to live with these families. And I mean leave them, particularly if they are foriegn born.

  18. The same issue of the Jewish Week contained an ad, placed by the Jewish Week itself to attract advertisers, saying something like “Our readers earn 3x the national average household income!” You can’t make this stuff up.

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