Wearing the pants
Posted by Ron Coleman on May 1, 2008
An article from two weeks ago about a men’s haggadah and the general lack of male participation in Reform communities (Jewish Week). This week, my old friend Dr. Judith Rosenbaum replies in a letter and states that the claim that Judaism has been feminized “has been heard in every generation since the 19th century” (Jewish Week).
What an odd response. The decline of Jewish religious practice, continuity and community, by and large, across the mass of worldwide Jewry since the 19th century is hardly controversial. What’s the point of asking, “Oh, they’ve been complaining about a precipitous decline ever since the precipitous decline”?
Answer: Dr. Rosenbaum not only has no problem with the fact of feminization of any culture, much less Judaism’s traditionally (and to some extent notionally) patriarchical culture, she’s way in favor of it, and not too concerned about the implications for continuity of such a culture in anything like a traditional form.
She more or less comes out and says that, but then the point about “oh, that old saw” is not only irrelevant, it’s misleading. Or “ms.” leading, you could say.
AMERICAN JUDAISM FACES A SHORTAGE OF MEN: “Contemporary liberal American Judaism, although supposedly egalitarian, is visibly and substantially feminized.”