Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Judaism, Feminism and duality

One of my conversion students recently pointed me to an essay about a Jewish woman, studying to be a Rabbi, and how she deals with some of the issues which come up for her.

What I love about the essay is her willingness to discuss, and even embrace, tension and duality. She comes at it (largely) from a feminist point of view, but I'd argue that these same issues are present for any of us who take liberal religion seriously - those of us who are dedicated to being sincerely religious, but stridently non-fanatical. There's always a certain intellectual tension in that kind of life - how can I be faithful both to an ancient religion and to modern, liberal values, when those two worlds often conflict? How can I claim to be serving The One higher than myself if I'm the one picking and choosing what to do? But, how can I claim to be sincere and honest if I pretend that my religion is infallible and absolute when I know it's not?

Rather than try to find easy answers to these questions, the writer admits that they're important (I'd say fundamental) and troubling, and that they must be engaged. As always, people taking questions seriously are much more important to me than people who claim to have pat answers. Truth is messy - anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something*.

* That's a misquote - can anyone name the movie?

1 comment:

msands said...


Actual quote is "Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something."

— William Goldman, The Princess Bride.

Great post.