Monday, February 3, 2014

Being a girl's daddy- Rethinking an important issue

I recently wrote about the painful but, in some ways, essential transformation I've undergone in the last few years. I must admit that, for me, feminism is still a loaded word. It's hard to imagine that I will ever call myself a feminist, but I have a different title, Abba, which has caused me to reexamine my views of woman’s place in Judaism.

While I've written in various places about the challenges to being a father to boys, having daughters has caused me to think deeply about so many issues. Issues like girl's/woman’s chinuch (I've already been overly self-referential, so you'll have to check out the blog if you want to see these posts), “tzniyus”, Torah-learning for women are either on my radar screen for the first time, or, at very least, registering much more heavily.

Although I've voiced my opinion on some of these issues, I'm most heartened by what I've read and seen from frum women themselves. Women, like Rebbetzin Sora Bulka, who was my principal in high school, who destroy stereotypes (including my own) of what it means to be a frum woman. Even as a less than serious high school student, who did not see any of my rabbeim as role-models, I was impressed by the combination of modesty and style that Mrs. Bulka showed, all while teaching AP US History. I've since discovered that she is far from the only one. I've learned from, spoken with and worked with, frum women who are bright, creative and well-learned, any of whom I consider to be worthy role-models for my daughters. I also see young women, including some former students who, as writers, teachers, scholars, doctors and principals, set a shining example, that I hope my daughters will follow.

I'm not a posek and am unqualified to address the halachic issues being addressed on issues like women wearing tefillin and the like. Truth is, I'm glad to sit on the sidelines and hear the woman’s voices, as they address issues which are, after all, about themselves. I look forward to watching my daughters join the conversation.

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