If you were cast away on an island with just one Jewish text for company, which would you choose?
This week Gavi Morris, an RSY-Netzer movement worker, selects Judith Plaskow’s Standing Again At Sinai.
Judith Plaskow’s Standing Again At Sinai is a text that assembles everything I love about my Judaism into one philosophy.
Plaskow asks her readers to hold a commitment to the texts of tradition while critiquing them with an informed androcentric understanding.
Above all, Plaskow wants us to respect the tradition that equality of the sexes wants us to transform.
By no means is this an easy task. Growing up in the Progressive Movement, I am lucky enough to have this structure in place.
I have never felt inferior to men in the Jewish milestones I have undertaken. For my bat mitzvah my mum made me a tallit, which I wore as I took the Shabbat service and read Torah. I feel empowered to have this privilege as a woman and as a Jew, respecting the tradition which nurtured me and having the ability to impact how I practice it. Plaskow’s success is shown among Jewish feminist spheres of all denominations.
Her argument to reform still holds true, that ‘reform always begins in conviction and vision. An established system can become self-perpetuating and lose its ability for introspection and re-examination of basic premises.’ Jewish spheres and specifically Progressive Judaism are progressing constantly.
A vision of inclusion and equality underlies current discussion in the progressive world, for example same-sex marriage and providing a safe space for inter-faith couples to feel welcomed in the Jewish community. All these subjects are debated with the highest respect for Jewish tradition and an understanding of the accidental inequality of Jewish collective memory.
RSY-Netzer is at the forefront of this debate. We examine our ideology using a ‘critique-vision-method’ formulation. Plaskow resonates strongly here. I’m proud to be working for a movement of young people who understand the place of both religious tradition and inclusion and equality.
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