Jewish Education / Orthodoxy

“In Israel, the women’s learning movement…was not viewed as threatening, but rather as a natural outgrowth of women’s changing position in the world”

In Israel, the women’s learning movement preceded the Orthodox feminist movement. It was not viewed as threatening, but rather as a natural outgrowth of women’s changing position in the world. [In the United States], some of the militant statements [made] as Orthodox “feminism” brought many rabbis and lay people to circle the wagons. That never happened in Israel. We’re in the business of addressing women’s needs. We never aroused vocal opposition. The rhetoric was never divisive. In Israel, the women’s learning movement preceded the Orthodox feminist movement. It was not viewed as threatening, but rather as a natural outgrowth of women’s changing position in the world. [In the United States], some of the militant statements [made] as Orthodox “feminism” brought many rabbis and lay people to circle the wagons. That never happened in Israel. We’re in the business of addressing women’s needs. We never aroused vocal opposition. The rhetoric was never divisive.

Rabbanit Chana Henkin, as quoted in Steve Lipman, “Advancing Women’s Learning Without Any Fanfare”, The Jewish Week (19 May 2017), 5.