Take Gemara studies, for example. Go ahead and study. What is your problem? With men, it is so simple. You reach out, take a Talmud volume, and study it. That is all.
With you, however, it has to be different. First, you alert the media: "We are a group of opinionated women and we are going to study the Torah." Then, you wait, silently counting: one, two… and bingo! Here comes the second deputy of the rabbi of the Shen'ar Regional Council - a settlement with two tents, a goat, and a cellular antenna - and tells the media that according to Halachah, women may not study the Talmud.
Now, you must issue a press release: "It is inconceivable… we, the opinionated women, insist… we will let no one raise his hairy… patriarchal… and chauvinist… hand on the feminine enterprise… " and so on.
Sometimes I feel like there is nothing else in your world. You find feminism everywhere: women in the Bible; women in the lore; women in the Hebrew-German dictionary, women in the philosophy of Borat and the Marx Brothers. And you have "gender studies." And you have "emotional intelligence."
Barbed wire hats
And you cannot be reached because you are always at some women workshop, panel, forum, circle, or dialogue. And you have your own commentary on the weekly Parasha, and your Bible comprises only three stories: the rape of Dinah, the Tamar and Judah affair, and the story of the daughters of Zelophehad.
In addition, you must wear terribly original headgear. An ordinary shawl no longer satisfies you. You must have fashionable hats made of canvas, asbestos, barbed wire, Plexiglas, and placebo; whatever shows that you are not the same as the women of old, but opinionated, independent, empowered women. And you heroically keep your maiden name, even if it is so long that it spills from your ID card to your credit card. And you must have a women's minyan.
Yes, you shall breastfeed in the middle of Torah reading. And you shall be queens of the desert. And your experiences in the mikvah will fill Judaism sections on the internet. And even if you are refused a divorce, and left stationary, prevented, negated, and prisoners of Zion, you shall be cantors, and synagogue managers, and mohels, and no one will tell you what to do.
Lower the level of the noise you make
Now comes the part where I have to apologize and take some words back. Here's where I have to vow that I am no chauvinist and one of my best friends is a woman, but let me spare you.
I am not saying that many of your claims are wrong, but perhaps you should lower the level of the noise you make because in the minds of many of us there is this automatic spell-check, just like in a word processor. When you upload terms such as "gender," "opinionated," and "empowerment," it immediately converts them to "bullshit," "bullshit," and "bullshit" - respectively. Please, use a human language, not some sushi-jive.
One more thing. Please realize that next to the strictly Orthodox judges in the rabbinical courts there are a few more Israelis who live here. And, in all honesty, they could not care less if you study the Torah, put your head tefillin on your arm, or empower yourself in some circle that hosts a panel of lamentations and selihot by a minyan of opinionated women who hold an inner dialogue on gender-based emotional intelligence.
So how about taking a short weekend without dialogues, forums, and press releases? And if you simply must attend a panel, could you please take the kids with you for an hour or two?