role of a woman in Jewish

role of a woman in Jewish

Introduction

The Hebrew Bible describes and determines role of women in Judaism. Her role in Judaism is dynamic and complex. The role of a woman in Jewish life involves aspects such as adhering to dietary laws and observing the Sabbath (Baker, 2013).

Role and view of women in traditional Judaism

According to Baker (2013), traditional Judaism views women as separate beings but at the same time equal. In comparison with men’s roles, women responsibilities are equally important and distinct. In Jewish way of life, women were obligated to teach their husbands. Judaism puts emphasis that women should take seriously their primary roles as mothers to their children and as husbands to their wives. Koltun (2009) explains that the principle role of a woman in Judaism is to act as a mother wife and keeper of the family’s household. The Judaism ordinances describe woman as the mainstay of a home. She is bestowed with the role of determining the ambience as well as the character at home (Koltun, 2009). Judaism sees women as people who are not permitted to perform time based mitzvoth and observe the mitzvot voluntarily.

Moreover, women had a role in Judaism ritual life. It was an obligation of a woman to make a spiritual journey or pilgrimage to the Jerusalem Temple annually. During the religious visit, the woman was supposed to make a Passover sacrifice offering. Koltun (2009) expounds that it was also a woman’s role on special occasions to make a thanksgiving referred to as todah. The offering was supposed to be made after the woman has delivered. Judaism expected women to be active in participation of major religious undertakings (Baker, 2013).  It is an obligation of a woman in Judaism not to undertake negative mitzvot. The negative mitzvot prohibited against committing adultery. In the synagogue, women were required to pray and beautify the building (Koltun, 2009). They were to sew curtains termed as Torah Ark and covers to decorate the lord’s house. In Judaism, women took active roles of weavers, copyists, spinners and midwives.

Modern Jewish woman

Role of Jewish woman has changed from the traditional one owing to modernity and feminism. One of the factors that has contributed to the change is financial pressure. Today, the Jewish woman has started working and providing for the family, a role that was previously taken by men (Baker, 2013).  The Jewish woman today has taken active leadership roles in the community owing to modernity and feminism, which advocate for equal representation of both genders in all spheres. Moreover, the Jewish woman has also assumed leadership role not only in the community but also in the church.

Comparing and Contrasting

The two approaches, both the traditional and modern roles of a Jewish woman share some conspicuous similarities and differences. In both the traditional and modern approaches, the woman retains the role of a mother, wife and care take of family. She performs the duties of taking care of children and the husband (Baker, 2013). However, the two display a role difference since in the traditional approach, the woman is seen as not active in church and community leadership but the modern Jewish woman has actively taken the roles. In addition, the modern Jewish woman has taken the role of earning for the family by looking for employment, a scenario that is different from the traditional Jewish woman

References

Baker, A. (2013). Women’s Role in Judaism. The Jewish Woman in Contemporary Society, 35-44. doi:10.1057/9780230375819_3

Koltun, E. (2009). The Jewish woman: New perspectives. New York: Schocken .Books.

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