Event Review

Event Review - 15th December 1997

So, do we have a feminist future? We certainly had a great event!

On Sunday 23rd November, the sun was shining in Golders Green as JWN members met for our November conference on the theme of Do We Have a Feminist Future? The day was a great success. Our keynote speaker, Susan Weidman Schneider of Lilith magazine, brought us up-to-date with what Jewish women in the USA have achieved, thus giving us hope for the future, as well as reminding us of what still could be done. Overall, we went into the workshops on an upbeat note and the panel discussion was similarly lively though we could have done with extra time for more questions.

Here are some of your comments:

"Stimulating, raising a wide range of issues, articulating some of the 'unspokens'."
"It's amazing to have women coming together from across the religious spectrum. It's also good to See women of all ages here."
"Excellent, very clear, uplifting and yet realistic. Also very inclusive. I Iiked it being more 'political as a focus too"
"A brilliant day! The slightly challenging, controversial programme brought out the movers and shakers. Well done on an inspiring day!"
"Made 'image' a non superficial subject. Very meaningful and useful,"
(On body image) "Fascinating. Lots of ideas for projects that can succeed mostly social/welfare issues. Opened up discussion re social attitudes and negative stereotypes of Jewish women. A happy and dynamic event! Very stimulating."

Many of you also asked for more campaigning and action. With that in mind, we urge you to join us on Sunday 18th January, 1988 where we can meet, socialise and decide how to take the Network forward. Yes, we had a great event on November 23rd but to help us maintain that momentum we need new ideas and creative input from more people! You want action? Get active!

Fear of Feminism

I was as at one of those 'Friday night dinners’ for Jewish singles recently and the guest speaker was Dr Michael Sinclair, One of the questions put to him concerned the status of women in Judaism. He proceeded to talk about women's Tefilla groups and implied that women have only themselves to blame for the ruling that they cannot read from the Sefer Torah – because women had ‘politicized' the issue. A search for greater spirituality is to be applauded, we heard, but it must be kept separate from any notion of ‘feminism’.

Why? What, exactly, are they so afraid of? Why is feminism so terrifying - to the extent where even a 'feminist’ like myself dislikes ,the label, worrying that it will cast me as an ‘undesirable’? Does anyone have any answers? Talk to me!

Annie Wigman

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