Monday, March 1, 2010

The Voice Behind Daat- International Women's Day

The Voice Behind Daat- International Women's Day

For International Women's Day, I decided to examine the issue of women's organizations in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish society.
Although there are several Orthodox women's organizations, these organizations do not define themselves as women's organizations. In this article, I will try to determine why.

An organization is a group working for the realization of a common goal or goals.
These goals represent the underlying reason/s for the organization’s existence.

The Purpose of a non-Orthodox woman’s organizations as opposed to the purpose of an Orthodox woman’s organization, similar or different?

A women’s organization is characterized by the general goal of promoting women’s rights and improving their status in society. The realization of this goal is possible through a variety of activities, from establishing nurseries, working with the elderly, and being active in almost every field and industry.
Since Orthodox Jewish women are not willing to adopt an ideological line that stands outside the guidelines of the Torah, improving women’s status in society can not serve as the main purpose for these organizations. This is why organizations, made up of religious women, define their activities as the main purpose for the existence of their organizations. Examples of this are seen with the following organizations: Bat Melech, an organization that acts to shelter battered Orthodox women, and Nitza, an organization that helps women that suffer from post-partum depression, among other things.
The goal of these organizations is to help every person as an individual, and like other Orthodox charitable organizations such as Yad Sarah, an organization of volunteers that helps patients, these organizations are open to serving the general public instead of a specific group.

Empowering Women with “Grace”

Orthodox women are not looking for a way out of the system, on the contrary, they want to share what they are able to do within their our communities. This is the reason for the success of Daat, where Orthodox women are able to work in a work environment that considers all of their religious needs. In the eyes of the Orthodox, they think of flying flags for ‘empowerment and equality 'as an unnecessary act and one of externalization.

Orthodox women belonging to Orthodox organizations in general and/or ultra-Orthodox women's organizations in particular, are actually not doing less than non-Orthodox women in organizations. There is no less enthusiasm, dedication, self-fulfillment, or satisfaction; however the underlying theme behind these actions is “grace.”

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