Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I've been "outed"--as an "Egalitarian Evangelist" Jew :)

"Egalitarian Evangelist — noun, a Jew who dedicates their life to spreading the 'good news' of non-gender-specific roles in Jewish ritual activities." (Hat-tip to Steg.)

Oh my heavens, is that what I am?! :)

It probably is, but I've mellowed enough with age to try not to offend people any more than necessary on the subject. There's nothing quite like serving on the Ritual Committee of a non-egalitarian synagogue to teach one that one doesn't accomplish anything by being offensive. Compromise has been the name of the game here for decades. As a result, we women can now serve as p'tichah (Ark-opener), (though, for some incomprehensible reason, not as g'lilah at a Shabbat or Yom Tov morning service) lead Ashrei (from the bima, if we wish), chant a haftarah (albeit with a male getting the aliyah and chanting the blessings), lead Ein Kelokeinu, Aleinu, Adon Olam, Kiddush, and Birkat HaMazon, chant from Megillat Esther and Ruth, lein and have aliyot in the Sanctuary (back when we were in our old, bigger building, we used to have aliyot in the Chapel/Bet Midrash) on Simchat Torah, and, in the absence of a qualified male, lein for and/or lead weekday morning services, all things that were strictly forbidden to women when we first moved here. On rare occasion, when both the cantor and rabbi have been ill, we've even had our resident between-jobs cantor (female) lead Musaf on a Shabbat morning. It sure beats being absolutely forbidden to set foot on the bima except to pour the Kiddush wine at a Kabbalat Shabbat/Friday night Welcoming-the-Sabbath service. Still, I won't deny that I feel much more comfortable davvening (praying) in a minyan in which gender is a non-issue and I don't stick out like a sore thumb as a woman wearing a tallit (prayer shawl).


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