Jewish feminism

Feminist movement within Judaism / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jewish feminism is a movement that seeks to make the religious, legal, and social status of Jewish women equal to that of Jewish men in Judaism. Feminist movements, with varying approaches and successes, have opened up within all major branches of the Jewish religion.

In its modern form, the Jewish feminist movement can be traced to the early 1970s in the United States. According to Judith Plaskow, the main grievances of early Jewish feminists were women's exclusion from the all-male prayer group or minyan, women's exemption from positive time-bound mitzvot (mitzvot meaning the 613 commandments given in the Torah at Mount Sinai and the seven rabbinic commandments instituted later, for a total of 620), and women's inability to function as witnesses and to initiate divorce in Jewish religious courts.[1]

According to historian Paula Hyman, two articles published in the 1970s were trailblazers in analyzing the status of Jewish women using feminism: "The Unfreedom of Jewish Women", published in 1970 in the Jewish Spectator by its editor, Trude Weiss-Rosmarin, and an article by Rachel Adler, then an Orthodox Jew and currently a professor at the Reform seminary Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion, called "The Jew Who Wasn't There: Halacha and the Jewish Woman", published in 1971 in Davka.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Also, in 1973, the first [American] National Jewish Women's Conference was held, in New York City; Blu Greenberg gave its opening address.[9]

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