A few people shared Kate Bowler’s recent NY Times article, “The Perilous Power of the Preacher’s Wife” with me.
Yesterday’s long car ride to the natural springs in 🇮🇱 Northern Israel provided the perfect opportunity.
Kate, your article left a strong impression on me and I’m sure many others. So I was thinking…
🙋🏻♀️ Let’s Discuss 🤔
Love to discuss some of the issues raised with you, Kate Bowler 🙏🙏🙏 , our Facebook community, friends that I daven next to in shul, and of course from you ESTHER 👸🏼, the Preacher’s Wife.
📰 Read It📱
👩🏻 In Conversation With Women of Faith 👩🦳
Our daughters are often sequestered for “sichot” talks with righteous women that have usually suffered or are currently in the throes of a major tragedy.
Before Rosh Hashanah, my daughter’s teacher returned. With a headscarf barely concealing her bald head, modest clothes loosely hanging on her emancipated body, and an exhausted look on her face, she addressed her students.
The students she abruptly left mid-year after receiving devastating, horrific news. Chemotherapy would begin shortly, just as soon as she gave birth.
Her words, which when recounted by my daughter brought tears to my eyes, described the immense pain of not being able to physically and spiritually recite the morning prayer of “modeh ani” with the full and complete “Kavanah” concentration and intention prescribed.
Her only consolation, she explained to the young women, was that she knew in her heart, that so many of her family members, students, friends, and even complete strangers were davening for her and having her in mind during the recitation of their morning prayers.
Your prayers, your concentration, your appreciation of HaShem’s compassion and greatness, helped me face even the darkest of mornings.
Both my daughter and I, and I’m sure every student sitting in the room, were inspired by her impassioned speech. We were motivated to increase our concentration during our daily prayers and throughout the High Holiday service.
I am inspired. I am moved. I am motivated. What courage. What heroism. What faith.
I daven for her and beg HaShem to grant her a complete Refuah Shelaimah.
I did wonder. I did question. I did think.
Is this the total sum of our religious (women’s) education? You see, this was not the only lecture. Almost every day leading up to Rosh Hashanah, different lecturers spoke to our daughters.
Lost children in a fire. Donated kidneys. Special needs children. Terrorism.
Horrible situations. These women are devout believers. Facing the fire, they recite Shema, chapters of Tehillim.
I am ambivalent. Is this the way, the only way, in which our young women, in which we, can come close to Hashem?
And. Is tragedy the only way, a woman in a headscarf, a long skirt, and long sleeves can be given the pulpit?
Reading this article, brought to light, many of the issues I have and continually grapple with.
✍🏻 According to Kate Bowler 👩🏻💻
“In 2018, fewer than 1 percent of American megachurches were led by a female senior pastor. This lack of women in formal leadership comes as no surprise. There is a long history of theological objection to women preaching and teaching.
Conservative women must build their careers without the educational and institutional advantages of their male counterparts. Diplomas do little to change that.
Without traditional credentials, conservative women are forced to rely on their personal connections or authority of charisma, building brands based on experience or, worse, tragedies.
Almost every popular Christian speaker has a story of walking through fire. The death of a child. An abusive childhood. A critical illness. Unless someone finds fame by relation (a pastor’s wife or daughter), it is otherwise nearly impossible to find a niche in this crowded industry. Formal qualifications matter little in a world in which a woman’s authority is found by turning her insides out.”
👸🏻 Final Thoughts 🦸🏻♀️
Is tragedy the only path open to “conservative religious women”?
Will the “important symbol of spiritual power — the pulpit” be open to our daughters?
Are we content “remain(ing) a Christian Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way”?
Will our daughters remain content with the “narrow and precarious paths of power that women tread.”?
Goal – Growth
As religious leaders, I believe our goal is growth. Striving for growth on an individual level, within our communities and ultimately within the greater world.
Building on what motivated our parents and grandparents, being mindful of the hearts and souls of our children – our future.
Striving to energize and inspire our entire community. Deepening our commitment and relationship with Hashem.
Always לשם שמים.
Always for the sake of Heaven.
Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom, Happy Sukkot, and Feast of the Tabernacles!