You are what you wear

Kol B'Isha Erva

fashionCoincidentally, this Shabbos my son was talking about a lesson he learned in yeshiva this week about how you are what you wear. If you dress to reflect a certain persona, people will see you as that persona, and you will become that persona. I say coincidentally, because I wrote about this topic a few days ago.

He used the example of giving a poor man dressed in rags a nice suit, and how the new clothes will boost his self-esteem and make him feel like million bucks. He mentioned how if a little boy wants to play fireman, all he needs is that fireman’s hat and he becomes a fireman.

My son’s rebbe also spoke about the impact clothing can make on concentration during davening (which was perhaps the real focus of the mussar shiur!). If a young man comes to morning prayers in beachwear, he isn’t going to…

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Sex as a weapon

interesting. maybe husbands shouldn’t need the use of sex to pressure others to give gets.. #howboutthat

Kol B'Isha Erva

male-lion-being-nagged-by-femaleI saw a recent Facebook post about a group of women in LA who all banded together and refused to go to the mikvah until a recalcitrant husband agreed to give his wife a get (Jewish divorce). Apparently, their strong-arming technique worked, as the men of the community pressured the stubborn husband to give the get in short order.

Stories such as the one above have become the stuff of myth and legend in the frum community. Although there are hushed whisperings of women banding together and refusing to sleep with their own husbands until their sister-from-another-mister is unchained, no one can give any specifics as to who, what, where, or when these private protests actually occur.

Predictably, when this sort of agunah solution is proposed, people cry that it’s assur to use sex as a weapon. Additionally, why should one couple’s shalom bayis problem become an entire community’s shalom…

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Treating Orthodox Women as Equals, Guest Post by Ronn Torossian

YES x100000000…

Morethodoxy: Exploring the Breadth, Depth and Passion of Orthodox Judaism

As the father of young daughters who are blessed to attend Modern Orthodox yeshivas in Manhattan, my girls are taught that their potential is unlimited. At home and at school, they are constantly reminded that they can do anything, and succeed at whatever they choose to do in life. As girls living in the year 2013, we tell them that there are no doors closed to them. Doesn’t every good Jewish parent teach their kids similar values?

Today, Jewish girls go to day school, then Jewish high school, and then universities. Indeed, women – in Jewish life and elsewhere – can do it all. They are able to learn, study, and (gasp) even master materials that many men cannot.  And once they get there, should they then rely upon men for guidance on Jewish issues? NO.

With all due respect, is a woman special because of who she is –…

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But what is our GOAL? posted by R. Yosef Kanefsky

interesting to really think about our goals

Morethodoxy: Exploring the Breadth, Depth and Passion of Orthodox Judaism

As the Elul moon waxes and the peak of our religious year nears, we each begin asking ourselves our “big questions”. This Elul, the big question that’s rattling me is “what, in the end, is our goal?” 

We, who put on tefillin every morning (if we are men), and maintain separate sponges and towels for milchig and fleishig, we who tear toilet paper before Shabbat and don’t touch our spouses 12 days out of each month, what, in the end, is our goal? What is that we really want? 

Do we want our children to don tefillin, maintain kosher homes and observe Shabbat as we do? Well, yes, this is something we want. But is this our goal? In the end, is the simple perpetuation of religious activity the sum total of what we are striving for? Or is it just the means? And if so, the means toward what?

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The Private Self(ie)

adding to the abundance of articles on selfies, interesting move away from most other feminist authors’ viewpoints. There’s a time and place for modesty and I think [my type of] feminism (in general) should be about allowing for and celebrating whatever decision you make.


Since the Jennifer Lawrence photo hack, Internet security has come under scrutiny. But why do many young women feel the need to take and share nude selfies in the first place? Don’t get me wrong: I think hackers are morally reprehensible and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But I also think that we need to build an alternative to the dogma, “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Young women are told that it’s a sign of being “proud of your sexuality” to “sext” young men—a philosophy that has turned girls into so many flashing beacons, frantic to keep the attention of the males in their lives by striking porn-inspired poses.

Today if you watch the famous Algerian-French singer Enrico Macias singing to his late wife, Suzy, about how he “won her love,” their dynamic is as if from another planet. Some might watch this decades-old…

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Marriage= when you lose your virginity

9:36 am.

I finally click on the article I’ve been eyeing that was posted on my facebook feed.

“IT HAPPENED TO ME: I waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose my Virginity and I Wish I Hadn’t”

Samantha Pugsley wrote this article, posted almost a week ago on August 1 on about her relation to female sexuality and sex. She took a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage when she was 10 years old and after marriage still saw sex as dirty and sinful. Like JOFA, who shared this article earlier today, I’ve wondered about this; how can [heterosexual] observant/orthodox girls grow up to be sexually active with their husbands after 10 (?) kallah classes. How does one go from limited knowledge and experience, and more importantly, having female (and male) sexuality be hidden or invisible, to sex on your wedding night and at least every Friday night (it’s a mitzvah, natch), depending on your niddah/mikvah practices. I read a fictional book, The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris, where the Jewish ultra-orthodox girl marries the Jewish ultra-orthodox boy. But even though both research, or try to research, what sex will be like beforehand to know what they’re getting into (oh the dirty jokes I’m refraining from..), the girl, Chani, freaks out by the attempt and they both talk it out and decide to take it slow. How many other couples aren’t talking it out? How will couples go from not being able to talk about what they learn in their kallah classes to the full 360? Expectations to shift lifelong and internalized views of sex[uality], literally overnight, is problematic. Torah concepts of sex are explored analytically in The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism, edited by Danya Ruttenberg. I remember the book being very interested and being analyzed in ways that, of course, were not taught in any Torah class I was in; I read that book more than a year ago so I don’t remember details. I definitely recommend those two books in starting, or continuing, to think about how we think about female sexuality.

Have you read the article or books aforementioned? What books/journals/articles/etc would you recommend? 

There are those who commented on JOFA’s post emphasizing that JOFA cannot be orthodox (as their name emphasizes) since they are advocating for premarital sex or changing halacha. But did they? 

“Marriage is not a magic switch that changes a woman’s relationship to her body and her sexuality. You can’t socialize girls for over a decade to believe that their bodies and sexual desires are dirty, sinful, and inappropriate, and then magically expect them to have a healty relationship with sex and their new husband just because they are wearing a wedding ring.” -JOFA

What are they advocating for? What are suggestions for healthy relationships- to our own bodies, sexuality, and with our partners?

How did your relationship change after a wedding ring? 

Message me privately, or share below in the comments what you think about the article and topic.


A Response to ‘Women Against Feminism.’

yesyesYES !!


Imagine this:

The year is 2014. You are a white Western woman. You wake up in the morning in a comfortably sized house or flat. You have a full or part-time job that enables you to pay your rent or mortgage. You have been to school and maybe even college or university as well. You can read and write and count. You own a car or have a driver’s licence. You have enough money in your own bank account to feed and clothe yourself. You have access to the Internet. You can vote. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend of your choosing, who you can also marry if you want to, and raise a family with. You walk down the street wearing whatever you feel like wearing. You can go to bars and clubs and sleep with whomever you want.

Your world is full of freedom and possibility.

Then you…

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