Saturday, November 20, 2010

Haredim Women Lifestyle

sign forbidding women entrance

Reading about haredim women was quite fascinating yet shocking at the same time. Rosenthal describes the Steins haredim way of life  “Sarah takes her grueling schedule, split between clients and children, in stride: She Always has lived in a world where men learn and women work. Being married to a full-time Talmudic scholar means she is terminally tired but has a prized place in Israeli society.”(Rosenthal 188) It becomes apparent that haredim Jews way of life is extreme to secular Jews in Israel. They follow religious law and women’s free will or choice does not exist.
Group of Haredim women and the children.

Many secular Jew and Feminist women don’t agree with this haredim women life style. In an article The Feminine Mystique Shobat a Feminist who speaks  against haredim women life style is quoted saying “haredi women would not opt for a life of slavery. It is doubtful whether most ever had the opportunity to make any personal choice whatsoever in their lives.” It is clear that a haredim women’s daily life can seem unfair, hard, exhausting to a feminist or an outsider like me. The article defends the haredim way of life. The article wants feminist to really look at all the aspects of a haredim women’s way of life and not just the negative. Kaufman a sociologist and self described feminist Interviewed 150 ba’alot tesheva and saw the whole picture of these women’s life and understood them as women and realized the good side as of these women’s religious life. In interviewing them and learning about them and their way of thinking and feelings, she found that women felt no dought about her theological equality in Orthodox Judaism.  That many are vary much content with their life and enjoy the power they do have. Kaufman states that some women think there "able to make demands on men as husbands and fathers in ways they believe less possible in the secular world and When it comes to there sexual life they enjoy "The family purity laws are so in line with me as a woman . . . [I] t is commanded that I not be sexually taken for granted, that I have two weeks each month for myself,"
Haredim women reading while pushing a stroller.

The hard work and the many rules and customs these haredim women must follow to me are unthinkable. The issue feminist Shobat advocates the lack of women’s choice or free will is one I personally can’t get passed. Nevertheless I can respect these women’s beliefs and see them as strong women, but realize that for women not raised in the haredi world would find it difficult to fully understand it and willing to accept it. The article the feminine mystique is a religious one that advocates for the haridim women. It’s a direct defense article against feminist Shobat advocating her anti-haredim women way of life. The article is ten years old and that takes credibility away for its not current on today’s haredim women. Nevertheless I like the way it set the issue of the perception of the haredim women lifestyle I think Rosenthal deals with.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Israel’s Military Acceptance of Homosexuals
Israeli soldiers ready for combat waving an Israeli flag.


Israeli solider holding a rainbow flag
 Author Donna Rosenthal captures the attitudes on gays in the army in her chapter Oy! Gay? “ the army is showing it to soldiers now because it’s the army of the people, everybody has to go  we don’t care if you’re gay.” Israel has one of the world’s most active military. Israel Defense Forces drafts both men and women at the age of eighteen.  Israel is one of the only country’s in the world that maintains obligatory military service for women. Although there is general exemption from compulsory service to various segments of the population and women usually take advantage of these exemption. IDF asks men to serve a three years and women twenty- one months.
            It wasn’t until 1983 that IDF permitted homosexuals to serve. Nevertheless the discrimination still occurred and many soldiers were banned from intelligence and top-secret positions until 1993 when the Knesset removes such restrictions against gays became illegal. The Knesset decision would open the homosexual issue in the army allowing many to serve and feel free to express themselves. Many in the IDF feel “ It’s a non-issue.” As see in the video Yermi Brenner article being open about homosexuality is still an issue for the individual. The military institution can be very accepting of homosexuality, but tension among soldiers still exist. As Tomar Azaria shares his experience which was positive, he does state it depends on your unit and there level of acceptance of the issue. The machismo way of thinking is very much part of society still today, and homosexuality contradicts that.
            Tel Aviv is one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world, but outside of the Liberal metropolis most Israelis are conservative concerning homosexuality. The Israeli military acceptance of homosexuals has open society to this issue. Nevertheless religious Jew, Arabs and Muslims still look down on homosexuality and many men live in the closet. The openness of the Israeli military towards homosexuality is used today to reflect on the “ don’t ask don’t tell” policy in the U.S.  Several articles I came across talk about the well adjusted military has been in regards to this issue. In an article  In Israeli Army Gay is no Big Deal  the author criticizes the U.S policy calling it ridiculous.
The sources I used were relatively pro gay rights in the army. In two of my sources which are article they set the Israeli army example not just to profess their pro gay rights but also use it as an example to advocate for the U.S to adapt to the same mind frame in regards to homosexuals in the army. I really liked the article by Yermi Brenner his video accounts add credibility to his article.  The third source was a website that contained the structure and facts about the Israeli army.
gay right rally Israeli and Rainbow flags being waved.