I hope you will print this letter, but somehow, I doubt you will. In any case, here I go. I wish to respond to a column that really frustrated me. I got your magazine in the mail this weekend, and I had to comment on “The Torah-True Woman” by Yitti Berkovic. Berkovic paints a very flowery depiction on the state of Jewish women today, but sadly she is much mistaken. The reality is quite different than what she wishes to convey. In her column, she says that Jewish women are not subjugated, and to prove this, she points to several inspiring women in Tanach. But I challenge Berkovic to see if the women praised in Tanach would ever be allowed to shine today in a time when women’s names (forget about their faces) are omitted from wedding and bar mitzvah invitations and full-page dinner ads, which are thanking them for their contributions. The author admires Rus for her heroic acts and strength of character. Frankly, I am shocked that boys in yeshivah even learn about her. Why? Think about it. Would a publication like Megillas Rus ever be published now? We have powerful Jewish women that exist today who, as the author points out, “run chessed agencies and empires,” but are they ever applauded publicly for their actions other than by an all-female crowd? In addition, I do not think it is fair to lump the strength of all womenkind to just being about a quiet behind-the-scenes force. Why can’t we be acknowledged front and center? Also, Berkovic writes, “Look around, there are powerful Jewish women everywhere.” Really? Where are they? Certainly not in mainstream newspapers (not even women’s publications or children’s books!) Berkovic is right about one thing though, we do not seek fame nor attention: we seek general acknowlegment! How can women be respected when they are invisible in both image and and print? What bothers me most is that so many young girls are growing up with the mixed message: being told that they are important and respected, even though they are for the most part unseen. Which women do boys learn about today? Do they know about Sara Schenirer’s accomplishments? Do they know who Ruchy Freier is, just to name a few? Megillas Esther and Megillas Rus would never be published today. Let’s see if this letter even goes to print. Jewish women accomplish so much; I just wish we could all, and I mean ALL celebrate their skills.
Thank you for printing “Think Twice about Double Parking” by Rabbi Gewirtz. This is such an important message that I hope all will heed. Too often drivers will double park or block someone’s driveway and justify it by saying it’s “just for 2 minutes” or that the space isn’t being used anyways. As someone who gets blocked in all the time (and for more than 2 minutes), I hope people realize that this is a sign of disrespect for someone’s property and time. Like Gewirtz says, it also conveys a negative and selfish message to our children who may be in the backseat.
I have been a loyal and long-time attendee of the Marine Park Mikveh located at 3210 Kings Highway. I am glad you featured them in your May issue since they are struggling with low attendance. It’s really a shame since Rebbetzin Adinah Halberstam has put so much effort and money into revamping it into a beautiful space. I think during the lengthy renovation process, locals got accustomed to other mikvaos and haven’t returned. The mikveh is stunning with a new modern look, and I urge all women to give it a visit. You’ll love it!
I am enjoying your new column, #Life Thoughts, but the comment “If someone hates you for no reason I say you should give them one,” really doesn’t belong in an erlich publication such as yours.
I got some big ideas for my small place after reading “Small Home Big Benefits” by Rayle Rubenstein and after looking at the gorgeous pictures featured in the Décor column. Thank you for all the great tips and for showing readers that there are many benefits to living in a small yet cozy house.
In regards to the writing of Rabbi J. Gewirtz I would just like to point out that double parking on streets that have alternate side is legal during the cleaning time on most streets in Brooklyn. We must always make sure to check all facts before writing publicly.