Our recent communal engagements around women and Orthodoxy have taken on something of the aspect of trench warfare. On either side, partisans are deeply dug in to their respective positions, lobbing intense verbal volleys over no man’s land to detonate over the trenches on the other side, strewing shrapnel indiscriminately. Periodically, a frontal assault is launched at a particular position and, if it breaks through, we just dig in to new trenches 500 yards down the battlefield. Whether it succeeds or fails, the casualties are high; the progress in either direction not at all commensurate with the costs.
The essential contestedness of the roles of women within Orthodox ritual and leadership is not going away anytime soon, and thus neither will the communal debates surrounding these issues. But there are things we as a community can do to engage in these debates in ways that feel more purposeful and less destructive–ways we can climb out of our trenches and engage in a different conversation around women and Orthodoxy.
Rivka Press Schwartz, “Climbing Out of Our Trenches: Towards a Different Conversation”, Tacit Knowledge (21 December 2016) [https://rpschwartz.com/2016/12/21/climbing-out-of-our-trenches-towards-a-different-conversation-about-women-and-orthodoxy/]