25 August, 2012

Shofar #BlogElul 7

I can't remember when I last heard a shofar.  Until my cousin's recent Bat Mitzvah weekend I had not stepped in a shul, except for a historic tour, in over 11 years.  Despite my grapplings with a faith that treats women as second-class citizens and repeatedly sanctions genocidal land-grab in the name of a mountain-dwelling, masculine war deity, I did always love to hear the shofar.  Its clarion call echoes the ancient tradition of a people who lived closer to the cycles of life and death, blood and sacrifice than do many of us now.  It heralds a demarcation from day-to-day life.  Stop the presses, it says.  Pay attention. Be here, fully open to this moment.

I have thought about attending High Holiday services again.  The crispness of Fall feels like a wonderful time to pause and deeply reflect.  Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater; there are many aspects of Judaism that I find beautiful.  The Jewish Renewal Community in Boulder showed me a progressive, feminine-affirming Judaism.  But ironically enough, the only congregation here that doesn't charge an arm and a leg for tickets is the Orthodox one.

I will not sit in a segregated section because some guy might get distracted by my feminine wiles from his high calling of convening with G-d.  Life and Spirit are all around us, all the time, to be embraced and felt with passion.

I will not sit in a segregated section because I might be "impure."  My body is holy.  My blood gives life.  If that's not Sacred, what is?

I will not be content solely to keep house and make babies while the menfolk get to challenge their minds.  I have plenty to offer this world.  Why limit half of the population?

I will not cover myself in wigs and long skirts.  I will not silence my outrage that women who dress immodestly in Israel are often victims of irrationally misogynistic violence.  That women may not pray equally to men at the Western Wall.  That women in ultratraditional marriages may not initiate a divorce.  That with a few notable exceptions, our ancient tales are written by and about the patriarchy.  My T'kiyah bellows "knock it off!"

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