Friday, July 16, 2021

From Bais Yaakov to MD, part II

(Please note that this was written before the new Netflix series "My Unorthodox Life" came out)

From Bais Yaakov to MD: 

A Post-Charedi Bais Yaakov Graduate Speaks Out 

Guest post by Dr. Efrat Bruck

Part Two (read part one here


2. Stop pretending that your women are fine.

They are not. They are not fine. They are resentful, angry, and simmering beneath that amazingly cool exterior they pull off so gracefully. I would not be surprised if there was formally organized push-back from charedi women sometime in the near future. 

As a mother, wife, and physician, I assure you that I’m well-aware of the challenges modern life has brought upon women - all women, across all cultures and societies. I can appreciate the instinctive reaction the charedi world has had in pulling inwards and trying to “protect” the family unit by shunning “feminism” (despite the fact that the existence of Lakewood and Kollel owe thanks to feminism). But for goodness’ sake, you need to acknowledge your women and start having conversations about the issues. 

Your women handle an enormous burden. They are respected in their fields and in the boardroom, yet come home to a society that won’t let them speak in front of men, won’t print their pictures, and certainly won’t take their Torah scholarship seriously. Your hypocrisy is not lost on them; it is okay to get out there into the world and pursue a career to support the husband in kollel because YOU decided it’s fine, but not okay to do it for your own satisfaction or goals, because that’s “feminist”. So long as your endeavors benefit the goals outlined by your leaders, it’s ok. But don’t ever lose sight of the fact, that after all, “kol kevudah bas melech…:”, in other words, you are a woman under our jurisdiction. For those of you who think I am exaggerating, read this about the asifah held in 2015 in Israel. (Jew in the City will help you decode what the rabbonim actually meant – no sarcasm here) 

I will not pretend like I have all the answers or that I am fully satisfied with the treatment of women regarding Torah scholarship and leadership in the society I’m currently part of. But where I am, the questions are asked, the conversations are happening, and the men don’t crack jokes publicly about these very serious and very raw concerns. Your women deserve to be respected for their Torah scholarship, their pictures deserve to be printed, and they belong in positions of (gasp!) leadership, alongside men. 

I find it so stunningly ironic that so much of our whiny high school and seminary questions of “why can’t women do this and why can’t women do that” were answered with: “women are more emotional…it’s a good thing… they daven better”, when every few months the media explodes with yet another man in a position of leadership who was led astray by his “emotions” and got involved in some form of impropriety. To be clear, I’m not opposed to men being in positions of leadership. But spare me your platitudes about men being more level-headed.

Also, if you are worried that by taking your women more seriously, they will abandon their families and adopt cats instead, rest assured, women don’t – women almost never – abandon their families. The vast majority of women want to establish families and we are biologically and evolutionarily wired to put our children first, always. And the women who do not fall on this spectrum should not be forced into it anyway. This leads me to #3:

3. You need to start teaching your women Gemara

Or at least make it acceptable for those who want to without accusing them of doing it “for their own ego”. Before you start throwing tomatoes, hear me out.

Why would a charedi woman want to learn Gemara? Some people jump immediately to the rebelliousness. It’s because we want to be like the men! We are unhappy with our tafkid. “If a woman really knew the greatness and importance of her tafkid, she wouldn’t feel the faintest desire to learn Gemara,” I was repeatedly told. It’s because we are tainted by contemporary feminist ideologies that have seeped into our homes and minds. It tricked down from the women who want to wear tefillin. It’s a side effect of the Bais Yaakov system. We needed to start educating women because it was a hora’as sha’ah, but now they are all confused and think it’s their right to know everything. 

I went to a right-wing Bais Yaakov High school that was considered to have a strong Judaics curriculum. I then spent a year in the affiliated Seminary and following that, began teaching Judaic subjects at a high school. Three of my first summers teaching were spent at Neve’s most advance learning program for women. I was also fluent in Hebrew (thanks to my parents) and easily able to read and understand primary sources. Thus, I had basically maximized, to some extent, the learning available to women my age within the charedi framework. 

Oddly enough, all it took was 1-2 year of college to realize that the majority of my prior Judaic studies education fell into one of three categories: memorization of facts, developing textual skills, and learning to think the way the teacher thinks. (And then I completely understood why the charedi world is generally wary or discouraging of college and higher education.)  

This is not to negate or undermine the knowledge I acquired; I am thankful to have been fortunate enough to have robust Jewish education. But the critical thinking skills were just not there.  I was missing so many links. I could tell you what the halacha in a particular case was, but if you asked me why I would go blank. “Because it says so in the Shulchan Aruch?” Despite knowing the halacha and the “correct” hashkafah, I was actually ashamed of how little I knew about the process of its development. 

The gap between my ability to think critically in secular subjects versus Jewish subjects grew larger and larger and it dawned on me that probably what I was missing was contained in the Talmud. There were also many Judaic concepts that started to seem elementary and superficial, but then again, I knew that I couldn’t draw any significant conclusions when I was missing such a central portion of Jewish learning. 

It also didn’t help that when I started working at a research lab, no one questioned my “sincerity”, or if I was there for me “ego, or if I was a “feminist” – all things that were thrown at me when I tried to engage people in explaining why women aren’t taught Gemara. The contrast of being in an environment that was driven by meritocracy versus one where your every move was questioned, simply because you were a woman, was highly frustrating. Today I understand quite well why the charedi world doesn’t teach women Gemara; and I think they are very wrong. I think many women in my place would have just called it quits and given up on the Jewish part. It’s a shame. 

When you purposefully omit Talmud from women’s education, you are sending a very clear message and we hear it: your scholarship is only important insofar as it serves a very specific and narrow purpose outlined by the (male) leadership. Don’t be too ambitious when it comes to Torah, religion, or anything related. It will not bode well for their Judaism when these same women are taken seriously elsewhere. In the same way that Sarah Shenirer saw the need to formalize women’s education, charedi leaders today should see the need in incorporating Gemara into women’s chinuch.  

4. Your obsession with “tznius” is a big, big problem. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.  

We drill into women the importance of tznius - of wearing the right thing, of not wearing the wrong thing (with an attention to detail, that ironically, is quite untznius, definitely when spoken by a man). Why? Because it’s the pnimius that counts. Right? When you’re less focused on the outside, your inside character traits can shine. But is that the case? 

I spent four years ghostwriting divrei Torah for a local shul. I was very proud at the time. Here I was writing divrei Torah that were being read by some 100 men around the neighborhood, my name not once appearing on the papers. In fact, my brother who initially pitched my work to the Rav of the shul said it was my father writing the divrei Torah, because who would take a 21-year old “girl” seriously? 

I never had very strong feelings on the matter until I became a mother. Something about being parent makes you see things in a different light. Never, ever, would I stand by and let my daughters hide behind their work for no reason other than the fact that they are female. It is morally wrong on so many levels.  And say we even go along with the concept of “tznius”, isn’t the point to focus on women’s internal qualities, among those, their Torah scholarship? Or is that just a convenient excuse to erase women? My point in mentioning this story is that I had internalized the true message of charedi tznius, which is, just disappear totally, on the inside and outside, and be proud of it. 

If you are reading this and scratching you head, I urge you to read “Oz V’Hadar Levushah” which tells women not to play musical instruments in front of men, not draw in front of men, and not to discuss divrei Torah with men at the Shabbos table.  Charedi tznius is just as much about erasing women’s internal qualities as it is about erasing their physical presence.

An example of stunning hypocrisy that unveiled the true colors behind the charedi idea of tznius (i.e. control of women) was demonstrated by the Hatzolah/Ezras Nashim fiasco. Judge Ruchie Frier approached Hatzolah and requested that a division of female EMTs be set up to be deployed for emergencies relating to childbirth and other sensitive medical emergencies in the female population. Hatzolah did not agree and reiterated their long-held policy of not allowing women to join Hatzolah. Their reason? It would be inappropriate for men and women to fraternize in high-adrenaline settings. Riding in an ambulance together, delivering acute care, sharing intense experiences together – all these may lead to inappropriate work-place-initiated relationships. Ruchie Frier then went on to start Ezras Nashim, a separate EMT organization, and when Ezras Nashim applied to get a license for an ambulance, Hatzolah actively opposed them. 

Anyway, I think we can all agree that it isn’t universally accepted halachah that men and women cannot work together. Also, there are plenty of ways to mitigate the mingling of men and women in this particular setting, especially since the women coming on board would be serving a very specific subset of the population. Yet, Hatzolah and its Rabbis stood their ground; we must respect their sensitivities and approach, even if it isn’t the universal letter of the law.

How ironic, then, that in defense of Hatzolah rejecting Ruchie Frier and then opposing their ability to get a license, suddenly the letter of the law became very important. You can see Rabbi Kaufman explaining here that when it comes to emergencies, the gender of the medical professional does not matter. He also mentions that none of the rabbis who banded together to oppose Ezras Nashim actually spoke to anyone from Ezras Nashim (Rabbi Dr. Slifkin, does this sound familiar?) because “I believe the rabbis…are well-versed in the situation… and they have a very detailed knowledge of what’s going on…” How profound. They know what’s going on so they do not need to speak to anyone at Ezras Nashim before testifying at a hearing. The questioner then goes on to ask Rabbi Kaufman why he is only considering Jewish law and not the requests of women, given the cultural context, and how can a group of men make a decision in such a sensitive area for their entire female population?

I want to digress for a moment. Rabbi Kaufman, and the other 49 Rabbis you are speaking for, I’m looking at you. Suppose you needed to get medical care from a urologist. You show up at the clinic and find that the entire staff is female. You kindly request a male provider and you’re told there are none in this town. The female powers that be have decided that it’s ok to have all-female providers. Oh, and by the way, the provider that will see you is Chanie from down the block. But don’t be so sensitive. It’s medical treatment after all.

Ezras Nashim was born when women in the community were tired of having Chaim and Yanky from down the block emergenc deliver their babies. Hatzolah is so successful, partly due to the geographic advantage of having volunteers at every corner; the people most likely to respond to your call are those who live nearby. How can it be that rabbis that put such a high emphasis on tznius, on the spirit of the law, is suddenly so tone-deaf to women at their most vulnerable time? How can it suddenly be about halacha, when they so firmly defend their right to exclude women from Hatzolah, which is absolutely not universally accepted halacha? (Besides, even if they didn’t want to include women in Hatzolah, what business do they have launching a crusade against Ezras Nashim doing their thing and applying for an ambulance??)

And speaking about halacha, a woman giving birth is a choleh she’yaish bo sakanah, and one can violate Shabbos for her. No, it is not absolutely medically necessary for a women to have someone accompany her to the hospital in a car on Shabbos, yet the halacha, recognizing the woman’s vulnerability, allows for it. How can these rabbis oppose setting up a female response team that would make women feel safe and without loss of dignity in their most vulnerable moment? These are the same women that have zero to minimal contact with men till they are married and the same women that adhere to the strict tznius guidelines drawn up by men. Yet these same men don’t think the women should have a problem with local men delivering their babies. Looks like tznius has nothing to do with how women think or feel about anything; it’s all about the men. I suspect that the reason there was such a colossal resistance from Hatzolah and their Rabbis to something seemingly so innocuous was because the initiative was fully-driven by women.

Getting back to the questioner’s inquiry, about how can a group of men decide for a group of women… Rabbi Kaufman responds by saying that Jewish life revolves around Jewish Law, as interpreted by the rabbis. What a great way to end the discussion. As a follow-up question, he is asked why Hatzolah doesn’t allow women to join. First he cracks a joke (reminiscent of Rabbi Brudny in the Agudah convention speech) and then he completely evades answering. With this lack of transparency, it’s hard to imagine the deep, meaningful answer he would give if he had that “hour and a half”. I think Rabbi Kaufman’s speech broke the chillul Hashem meter. If I had still been charedi at the time, this incident alone would have been enough to blast me out like a cannon ball.

By the way, do you know what happens at the Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC when a chashuva rebbe is on the floor? It’s two am and the entire hospital is being turned upside down to find a male nurse because the rebbe needs his blood drawn. It’s pas nisht for a female to do it, despite the fact that he in only semi-conscious. What do you think would happen if chas v’shalom a female nurse came in to change a urinary catheter? Think your bnos-melech, tznius-is-your-crown-princesses, kol-kevudah-bas-melech, special-diamonds-and pearls-hidden-away deserve the same respect and dignity? 


To be continued. If you'd like to subscribe to this blog via email, use the form on the right of the page, or send me an email and I will add you. 

About the Author: Efrat Bruck, MD, graduated from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City and is now an anesthesiology resident at the Mount Sinai Hospital. Before medical school, she taught Judaic studies, Hebrew, and Biology to 1000 now-alumni of Be’er Hagolah Institutes, in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Bruck has worked as a content specialist for Khan Academy and created over 30 MCAT preparation videos on topics in molecular biology, DNA, and genetics that have also recently been translated into foreign languages.  Her videos have been published on the AAMC (American Association of Medical Colleges) website, Khan Academy, and YouTube, accruing millions of views on the latter. Dr. Bruck has published research in Nature, the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Bruck founded and leads the JOWMA PreMed Society that aims to advance Jewish women, from all backgrounds, in medicine. Dr. Bruck is a fierce advocate for premed students from insular and underrepresented backgrounds and strives to provide them with the resources and tools necessary to compete. ( She was among two out of 200 graduating MDs, PhDs, and MD/PhDs at Sinai’s recent commencement to be awarded the Patricia Levinson Award for the Advancement and Inclusion of Women in Medicine. Dr. Bruck, along with her colleagues at JOWMA, is also currently in the process of constructing a cultural competency curriculum that will help healthcare professionals in New York City hospitals provide culturally sensitive medical care to Jewish populations across the entire spectrum of Orthodoxy.   

Dr. Bruck’s experiences in education, acceptance to nearly 10 US MD programs, and service on the admissions committee of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have led her to have a highly successful track record helping premeds navigate the medical school application process. She is the founder and CEO of MDInspire, a medical school admissions consultancy that provides professional consulting for fees that are reasonable and a fraction of the standard costs. Dr. Bruck specializes in helping people weave their stories seamlessly through their application, building stellar personal statements and activities sections, interview preparation, and coaching students on how to study smarter, not harder. For more information, please visit:

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions or positions of JOWMA.


  1. They are not. They are not fine. They are resentful, angry, and simmering beneath that amazingly cool exterior they pull off so gracefully.

    Ha, ha, ha! This is projection if I ever saw it! This entire piece, and the previous one, can be described by exactly that - "resentful, angry, simmering, EXPLODING!"

    But the fact is, us ultra-orthodox know our women. We have plenty of women in our lives. We have mothers, sisters, wives, daughters, aunts grandmothers, sisters in law. And trust me, these women constantly pour out their feelings to us, much more than we can stand to hear. But they do not generally fit the description "resentful, angry, simmering". Of course, there are some that are. But guess what? This describes many men as well. Far more of them, actually. And far more men go off the derech. And from my experience in the secular workforce, there just as many, if not more, secular people, both men and women, that can be described by "resentful, angry, simmering".

    So this doctor is just projecting her own anger and resentment onto everybody else.

    Also, please stop using the word "chareidi" to describe ultra-orthodox American Jews. It would be like calling all MO American Jews "Datiim" or "Mizrochnik".

    1. Im sure every single one of these women felt free to open up to someone with such an open mind as yours, about a feeling as sensitive as that.

      Unless you spend a lot of your time speaking to women, this one has spoken to far more haredi women than you ever will. Her opinion is more informed than yours. But it's easy to laugh her concerns off as projection, isn't it?

    2. They open up about much more sensitive feelings.

      But here's the thing. This woman is telling a serious untruth. I wouldn't say she's lying, given that she herself obviously feels this way, from the way she writes. She herself is seething and simmering with ballistic rage. But for anybody who knows ultra-orthodox women, it is an obvious distortion, and untruth, a falsehood.

      And the women in my life collectively know more women than she does. And guess what? They don't agree with her. At all. Not to say that everything is lilacs and roses. They admit that there are unique difficulties with frum life, and particularly for them, the women. But they certainly don't agree with the sentiments of "resentful, angry, simmering". Especially about the things she mentions.

    3. "She herself is seething and simmering with ballistic rage"
      I have read her whole article and what I see is a fair critique of Heredi leadership, not "ballistic rage" but of course criticism is too much to bear, coming from a woman no less so why not lets characterize her as a "seething simmering ballistic rage" angry woman. no need for introspection, no need to actually listen (that would be emm.. "untzniusdig..)

      Precisely her point.

    4. Ah, the old "anybody who disagrees with her is actually proving her point" argument. What a surprise! How did I not see that coming?

    5. I'm sorry to invoke Godwin's law, but this is a "fair critique of heredi leadership" the same way MK is a fair critique of the Jews. Or if you prefer, the same way Al Hageula v'Al Hatmura is a fair critique of the Zionists.

    6. happygolucky, which do you think is more likely?

      A) Frum life presents its challenges for women, but this almost never leads to any major frustration, anger, sometimes rage at the institutions who are responsible for it. It's calmly accepted by frum women as a fact of life, or as a minor inconvenience that doesn't affect them deeply. If it did, they would feel free to open up to their son/nephew/brother-in-law, even if it meant having a fit of rage in front of him. But they don't feel that way. Men are much more likely to display those emotions. Potentially because, contrary to what one would think by seeing them at the top of every important institution, they have more reasons to leave than women.

      B) Frum women experience a lot of discrimination in a community they otherwise love and support. But it's considered improper for a woman to openly express anger when they feel something's not right. Men have more leeway in that regard, so they feel more free to speak up, shout, complain etc. Those things won't affect their or their children's "shidduch score" as much as if they were women. Women will keep their anger to themselves, sometimes venting to a close friend. They won't confide in a man or speak up in public, unless they're ready to have their criticisms compared to n*zi manifestos.

    7. It's silly to present this as a question of likelihood. How did you measure "likelihood"? Usually when people say something is "more likely", they are just saying their opinion. Nothing more.

      The reality is more complicated.

      It's C). Frum life presents its challenges for women, and this sometimes leads to major frustration, anger, rage. The same way it does for men. And in fact, it probably presents MORE challenges for men, given that more men go OTD.

      But we are talking about different challenges here. The challenges that face the women I know are certainly not the ones expressed in this post! They are certainly not complaining about not learning Gemara, not wearing Tefillin, not speaking in front of men, not becoming Rabbis, not being in enough leadership positions, not fulfilling "their dreams".

      The actual challenges of frum life, which women speak about constantly, and even get angry about, are the stuff that everybody already knows. Like: Shidduchim, peer pressure, kids, the kollel lifestyle (where applicable), tuition, schools, cost of food, cost of home in frum community etc, etc, etc. Of course these challenges vary based on the person and the community. But women have absolutely no problem complaining or expressing anger, even when the complaint is "it's shver tzu zayn a yid".

      The way you casually make ignorant comments like "it's considered improper for a woman to openly express anger when they feel something's not right" makes me feel that you know nothing about ultra-orthodox life. I mean, that has got to be one of the most ignorant comments I have ever seen on the internet.

  2. What an amazing woman! May Hashem bless you and increase your voice and sphere of influence. And may he open the ears of men to hear you!

  3. I struggle to take Rabbonim seriously given that they hold their position by virtue of their sex: especially when commenting on the proper role of women.

    1. they hold their position by virtue of their knowledge. as a reminder, Torah was given from Hashem to Moshe to teach the men who in turn were to teach their sons.

    2. ...says a man. Very convenient.

    3. Judaism is a male dominated religion. This is very simple.

    4. Undeniably true Yakov.

      What we have above is a matter threat from women to walk unless as a result of change they are treated with dignity.

    5. I don't see this as a problem. Women and men have their natural placed in the world. They are not equals - they are different.

      Ever heard a feminist complaining that there is no female plumbers? In all my years in the HVAC trade I'd never seen a woman in either service or installation. Now, check this out: what's harder to do army combat service or HVAC or plumbing trades? To me the answer is obvious that it is, or at least should be, the army. Therefore the women in the army not only undermine it's morale and discipline, but endanger their fellow soldiers in the times of war.

    6. Perhaps the reason why you see women not being treated with dignity as not being a problem is because you are not a woman?

  4. You know what, I never thought I'd say this, but Dovid Kornreich (in his comment on yesterday's post) is right: "All of Dr. Bruck's criticisms are dripping with scorn and cynicism about chareidi attitudes towards women".

    The problem is... she's right.

    1. True.

      Not sure how great Orthodox women are treated or women in general for that matter.

    2. The funny thing is that Part 1 of this essay actually was NOT dripping with scorn. I heard as I read it real anguish and fear for others. I believed it when she said that she still loved her family and community and valued her experiences.

      Unfortunately, Part II has a lot of that negativity that was not present in Part I. I might still agree with the argument, the perspective, and the goal, but yeah.

  5. Ok, I'm actually torn on this. On one hand, I'm sympathetic to a woman who wants to learn Torah and I think they should be allowed. Da'athan qaloth was advice for a specific time, not codified as halakhah. On the other hand- there definitely DOES exist a group of women who want to learn Torah and wear Tefillin specifically to "own the chareidim"- of course though only God knows the inner thoughts of people

    1. But דעתן קלות was codified in Halacha. By those who codified other halachos too. The Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch. And the Rambam, when teaching people how to act in marriage, writes explicitly that the Goyim got it wrong. So to claim he was influenced by the zeitgeist is disingenuous.

    2. Look at that Rambam again... Does it use the term אסור?

    3. Oh boy, Da'atan Kalos has been addressed and explained in context and then addressed again. It's another line (like Talmud Torah K'negged Kulam) than means one specific thing but then gets touted about to apply to everything else.

  6. This author argues women be taught Gemara, while giving zero weight to anything the Talmud has to say about all of these issues.

    I work together with many brilliant women today, previously spending years in Kollel. Chazal were certainly correct women should not be be Halachic decision makes. Contrary to the laboratory research settings where a wrong conclusion would show itself, Halacha often involves applying very abstract concepts to situations fraught with emotional conflicts.

    Of course men are emotional, but the fact is that they are far better adapted for dealing with abstract frameworks: only 2% of Nobel prizes in physics went to woman.

    Women being the breadwinners is certainly not a l'chatchila. Reb Yakov Kaminetzky, The Satmar Rav and rav Shmuel Aurbach were not fans. Not the feminist movement, but technology making housekeeping dramatically easier and a dramatic increase in office jobs has enabled women to flourish in the job market in the long-run. That said, I know men who suffer silently because of wives in leadership positions in business. The Rabmam was right.

    1. Women are not bags of emotion. They just generally have more empathy. And empathy is probably the single most important quality in a Posek. We say that if Hashem judged strictly with the quality of din, the world could not stand. Well, that's true of Poskim -- if they decide based purely on the strict reading of the law, they destroy lives.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. "only 2% of Nobel prizes in physics went to woman"
      Just a couple of years ago, it was 1%, but it has doubled in the past 5 years. While there were only 2 in the entire 21st century, there have been 2 in this decade alone! And as the rest of the world continues to progress beyond these archaic sexist stereotypes, more and more women are going into physics and other STEM fields.

      In the 70s, only around 5% of PhDs in physics were earned by women; today, it's approaching 20%. As more & more women break the stereotype by succeeding in the sciences, it provides role models and inspires other women, which is furthering the trend. The rest of the world is progressing, while the charadim (and other conservative religious groups) drag their feet.

      Whether they want to admit it or not, charadi (et al.) society has been forced to shift; however, they aren't going without a fuss, they're kicking and screaming the whole way, with all their internet asifas, etc. As the rest of the world is accelerating, charadim are attempting to dig in their heals deeper in the futile fight against the future.

    4. gh500 wrote "That said, I know men who suffer silently because of wives in leadership positions in business. The Rabmam was right."

      so if you know any woman who suffer silently because of men in
      leadership positions would that make the Rambam incorrect? if no then the same applies to men suffering from woman.

      just an example of your astute analytical skills being blinded by seeing things from only your point of view, which is precisely the reason men should not be the only ones making decisions about woman

    5. GH500: In what way do men suffer silently if their wives are in business? {sarcasm activated} Do they not come home to a hot dinner? Do they have to do some of the carpooling? Are they embarrassed by having nice things that their wives paid for? {sarcasm off} OK I got that out of my system.
      As "na" points out, there are women who suffer from having their husbands at busy jobs. Is this suffering to which you refer not exactly the same thing that women have been railing about for over a hundred years: how husbands are not home enough of the time to spend time with their wives and be romantic and grow the relationship, or possibly how fathers are not home enough to help with the children and to form a relationship with them, or maybe how they fear that their men will have their heads turned by the pretty young thing at the receptionist's desk? I legitimately would like to know, sarcasm aside, what unique concern they have.

  7. Dr Bruck I'm asking this sincerely. Why be haredi? I was brought up haredi adjacent and attended both MO and Haredi yeshivot. I left and couldn't be happier in MO. Quit beating a dead horse and join the denomination that is more reflective or your philosophy and lifestyle. One of the greatest tricks haredim played was convincing everyone that every other legitimate form of Torah observance didn't exist.

    1. Nice reference in that last line there.

      The issue is not for her. It's for the myriad of women, young and younger, who might feel suffocated. It's for the uncounted numbers of women who really do prefer a female medical practitioner, particularly when dealing with certain issues or certain parts of the body.

    2. This. I am not charedi today. But my connection to that world reminds me all the time of the people who don't have the tools or circumstances to improve their situation.

    3. From an atheist ex-Chased on

      "the paternalism with which some well-intentioned activists want to “save” those poor oppressed charedi Jews. But we need to learn to overcome our cultural supremacy"

    4. So any activism is a minefield and anyone who speaks up about perceived injustice is labeled SJW and ignored. (Pot-kettle, BTW)

      But there is no paternalism in THIS case! The activist is a former member of that group. Non-male and not someone who has never lived in the yeshivish-right-wing-chareidi world.

  8. Dr Druck:
    "When you purposefully omit Talmud from women’s education, you are sending a very clear message and we hear it: your scholarship is only important insofar as it serves a very specific and narrow purpose outlined by the (male) leadership. Don’t be too ambitious when it comes to Torah, religion, or anything related. It will not bode well for their Judaism when these same women are taken seriously elsewhere."

    Maybe chareidi leaders have seen this experiment made in other communities and they didn't like the results?
    It's hard to make an argument that the intellectual aspect of their lives is so central to most women as to think there will be mass defection if gemara isn't taught to all women.
    If you haven't noticed, most chassidic groups are not too intellectually oriented--even for men-- and we don't see mass defections. In fact, chassidus itself was in large part a reaction to the over-intellectualization of Judaism by the litvaks. I think it is fair to say most people do not get deep religious satisfaction primarily from an intellectual understanding of their religion.

    Of course, intellectual-minded women like yourself will be frustrated, but that doesn't justify revamping an entire chinuch system to accommodate this minority.
    And it seems you haven't done any cost-benefit analysis of making girls chinch more gemara-based. Do you know how many boys struggle and fail to keep up with the demands of gemara--and feel like second-class Jews because of it? Are you so selfish as to condemn so large a number frum girls to completely unnecessary feelings of religious failure just in order to increase the fulfillment of a tiny minority?


    1. So too much gemora is taught to boys? Or not enough is taught to girls? It's nice of you to engage with the critiques made of intensive gemora farming for boys; I doubt the sincerity of your motives in raising that objection in the context of defending then status quo for women.

    2. Despite what you might think, I don't deny there are problems with chareidi chinuch that need to be addressed and mitigated (without tearing down the entire system in the process).

      It is an undeniable fact that intense gemara training for all boys comes at a cost. Question my motives for stating the obvious if you like--I really don't care and it doesn't affect the substance of my argument. It just makes you look like you are trying to deflect it with irrelevancies.

      Maybe someone can address the substance instead:
      Chareidim have deemed that cost to be worth the overall enormous religious benefit for boys, but it seems clear to me that Dr. Druck hasn't even considered the cost for girls.
      And if she did, she is being incredibly selfish to push it anyway for the enhancement of a small minority.

    3. You are quite happy to count the cost to boys in the abstract. It costs you nothing.

      Do you or do you not support reducing the level of gemora learning for boys to the same as that for girls on a practical level? No you do not.

    4. How do you know it costs me nothing? You know nothing about me. But I see substance isn't your strong suit, so I'll drop it.

    5. Mr. Kornreich, you set up a straw man argument that you support with a real point. You say that mandatory intense Gemara learning is not for every boy. On that many can agree: we have the boys who cannot and therefore get disheartened when they do not, and we get the abysmal exposure to Tanach and other primary texts (halacha, mussar, etc.).

      But I do not think that Dr. Bruck (are you comparing her name to "Dreck"? that's not very polite.) is campaigning for Gemara be taught in a mandatory fashion to all women, just that the option be open. Don't rail against the societal costs of having all women learn Gemara all day when that was never even on the table. Having Gemara AVAILABLE to all women would be all that is necessary. Those interested in the intellectual would find something to follow and those that aren't could continue with the current curriculum.

      Possibly there should be a mandatory intro course, like how even boys learn Yehoshua and how colleges have basic requirements for all categories, in order to "break the ice" and see who might actually like it but felt stigmatized to ask otherwise...

    6. Yosef R.
      I certainly did not get the impression that Dr. Bruck (wow, thanks for correcting me on misspelling her name--I didn't realize it until your comment) was advocating an optional track.
      In fact, she indicated the very opposite when she explicitly compared it to Sarah Shenirer's Beis Yaakov idea.
      She wrote:
      "In the same way that Sarah Shenirer saw the need to formalize women’s education, charedi leaders today should see the need in incorporating Gemara into women’s chinuch."

      As I'm sure you know, Beis Yaakov is a universal chinuch system for Chareidi girls and was is credited with saving their very yiddishkeit--it is not seen as an optional track.

    7. But, my dear Reb Dovid, how do you know that I don't know anything about you? In this phantasmagorical thought experiment, I might be your next door neighbour. I might even be your wife.

      The only thing you have unwittingly conceded, Reb Dovid, is that you know absolutely nothing about me.


      Let us leave those sunlit hava aminas alone for a few short moments while we contend with ugly reality. The Schrodinger's Gemora Lessons you pride yourself on - they're not signs of your peculiarly male genius. They're signs of superficiality, of unseriousness, of bad faith. Nobody is going to be persuaded by a grown man-baby who spent far too long in kollel and not long enough in a proper job to even understand how to begin to have something useful to contribute to society, let alone to lecture society about how it should be run.

      I lie. You are doing a superlative job awing yourself with your own genius, and a bright future lies ahead of you impressing yourself further with your brilliant insights into what might or might not be.


      We deserve each other, Reb Dovid. Two internet trolls burnishing our inflated egos on the internet late at night. I admire our work, the hours of time we will waste proving to our mutual satisfaction that the golden prize - the greatest buffoon to grace Rabbi Dr's comment boards - is rightfully ours. But I must concede this particular field to you, on the grounds of actually having paid employment. Until the next time, then, fellow knight of the ad hominem! I salute your indefatigable work!

    8. My goodness Hat, that was weird--even a little spooky.
      I guess "substance isn't your strong suit" was quite an understatement on my part.

    9. Eh, DK, I followed her opening line in the section, the one that said "Or at least make it acceptable for those who want to without accusing them of doing it “for their own ego.” I cannot imagine that in the first generation of a hypothetical lowering of the boundaries that every woman would thrive in Gemara. Many would balk, feel out of place, or otherwise flounder. So it was obvious to me that she was referring to an optional program.

      I see where you got your idea - the comparison to Bais Yaakov sets this up, but even Bais Yaakov is not a universal thing. Sure, it exists in many places, but not all women attend it. There are other institutions - that perhaps would not have existed had not BY been established - that many women attend, and again, I subconsciously made that analogy also.

    10. Dear Reb Dovid,

      As substance is obviously your strong suite, it seems strange that you are resistant to taking a substantive position on whether you do or do you not support reducing the level of gemora learning for boys to the same as that for girls on a practical level.

      You will drey; you will kvetch; you have already done the sulk like a teenager that I don't know anything you shtick.

      We've all watched you dance this merry dance on this blog, and we salute the crafty genius in holding or not holding disingenuous positions for the sake of advancing a bad faith argumemnt.

      Because it is you, I need to clarify: I was being sarcastic.

    11. To Yosef R.
      So we agree that Dr Bruck's (again, thanks for the correction!) primary suggestion was to incorporate gemara in girls chinuch across the board and her fall back position is to at least make it an optional track?
      If so, then you should admit that everything I wrote was in fact attacking her primary suggestion. Not some straw man as you originally claimed.

      I will quote your comment:
      "But I do not think that Dr. Bruck ... is campaigning for Gemara be taught in a mandatory fashion to all women, just that the option be open. Don't rail against the societal costs of having all women learn Gemara all day when that was never even on the table."

    12. To the Hat:
      You know what? I hate to admit it, but you were right about me all along--even the sarcastic creepy parts! All of it! Everyone reading this thread can see your uncanny ability to see right through me. Thank you for making me the center of your attention. I am truly honored.
      Hat's off to you, sir. Really.

    13. Ach! DK! You did it to me too!

      "just that the option be open" refers to the option of learning Gemara! Not the option of reforming the whole curriculum to mandate Gemara! Holy moly! Even while I was explaining exactly that point.

      No! I do not agree that Dr. B's desire was to mandate Gemara for everyone. I might be mistaken - I often am - and if I am then I disagree with that as an adjustment to Beis Yaakov, other than the introductory course that I suggested. (In MO schools, then yeah, actually, I do feel that it should be mandatory, at least for a few years. Maybe not all the way through high school.)

      But I refer again to her opening line of that section, with my comments:

      "You need to start teaching your women Gemara" (here is the thesis of this section, a concept, that the leadership should permit this thing)
      "or at least make it acceptable" (her actual reality understanding proposal)

    14. To Yosef R.

      The word "or" in her opening line refutes your reading and supports mine completely. "Or" clearly means this is her fallback position if the ideal is rejected. But she is certainly putting mandatory gemara for all women on the table.

  9. Dr Druck:
    "If you are reading this and scratching you head, I urge you to read “Oz V’Hadar Levushah” which tells women not to play musical instruments in front of men, not draw in front of men, and not to discuss divrei Torah with men at the Shabbos table.  Charedi tznius is just as much about erasing women’s internal qualities as it is about erasing their physical presence."

    If a woman came to me and insisted that she feels her internal qualities are being erased by chareidim if --although she can play music, perform any art she likes, or convey brilliant divrei Torah in front of thousands upon thousands of women--she cannot do so in front of any men, I would say she is either:
    1) suffering from an immense ego problem, or
    2) is suffering from internalized male chauvinism where nothing can be significant if it can't be done in front of men.

    I'm sure Dr Druck is well aware of the dozens of chareidi women who deliver wonderful, inspirational shiurim to female audiences world-wide. (They even *gasp* publish their divrei Torah in chareidi magazines!)
    I'm sure Dr. Druck is aware of the outstanding theatrical performances given by dozens of incredibly talented chareidi women and girls for female audiences world-wide. (And they even *gasp* do comedy routines too--good heavens!)

    Maybe it's just me, but I would be very religiously satisfied if I could influence and make a deep, life-long spiritual impact upon thousands and thousands of men but not a single woman.
    But I guess I'm just not religiously ambitious enough according to Dr. Druck.

    Based on the enormous amount of opportunities open to chareidi women to express their talents and internal spiritual qualities to female-only audiences, I consider the Hatzoloh/Ezras Nashim fiasco (if Dr. Druck can be trusted to give a fair and accurate description of it--given her open animus towards chareidi leadership) to be an anomaly and not an example of any wider trend to control women.

    1. "Maybe it's just me, but I would be very religiously satisfied if I could influence and make a deep, life-long spiritual impact upon thousands and thousands of men but not a single woman." lol... but what about if you could make a deep, life-long spiritual impact upon thousands and thousands of women but not a single man? Methinks you wouldn't be satisfied! Because the fact is that we live in a male-dominated society.

    2. I guess someone here is suffering from internalized male chauvinism where nothing can be significant if it can only impact women and not men.
      How utterly sad. And if you are a woman, it shows you are self-hating. Nothing sadder than that.

    3. Caught you, reformistJuly 18, 2021 at 9:17 PM

      To Dovid Kornreich aka kiruv maniac: Are you advocating female-only Shabbos tables?
      Sounds like an attack on the family unit that would make even the far-leftists and gay agenda envious.

    4. The EN fiasco had nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with a turf war. Hatzala doesn't like competition, it's quite simple.

    5. Nice try. But it's ignoring that 1) it means a woman can't do all of these things with a mixed audience or in a public place, for there will be some men present. So their activities will be limited to an all-female public, meaning they can only happen in private or in a time and place that is specifically designed for them (which most often excludes anything that is spur of the moment). They can't decide, as you can, that they want to say a few words at a kiddush, or play a song at a simcha, or draw sketches in the street.

      And 2) women receive less funding and are granted less power/reach than their male counterparts, which means that their influence on society at large is much less than that of men. So teaching to a male audience has, sadly, less impact than teaching a female audience. It would be surprising if a Rosh Yeshiva aspired to be a seminary director, while going from seminary director to Rosh Yeshiva would be seen as a promotion.

    6. To reformist:
      Among family members, all those things are not an issue. If Oz V'Hadar says it is an issue, well, that's simply not the way chareidi families roll in my experience. Is it in yours?
      Chareidi-bashers love to quote extreme things they find in print with no regard for how things work on the ground.

      To Anonymous (Efrat?)
      I didn't ignore anything. I never claimed there is equality or even near-equality in this realm. And Dr. Druck wasn't advocating for equality in this post.
      I claimed that Dr. Druck's framing this inequality as some kind of deep societal crisis because it is "erasing women's internal qualities" or "controlling women" when they have ample opportunities to express whatever talents they have to thousands upon thousands of all-female audiences world-wide--just not to men, is either a sign of an overblown ego or a sign of internalized male chauvinism.

      Which do you think it is Anonymous? Or do you have a third alternative?

    7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    8. "I consider the Hatzoloh/Ezras Nashim fiasco (if Dr. Druck can be trusted to give a fair and accurate description of it"

      Are you for real!? what is wrong with you?! I personally did follow the Hatzoloh/Ezras Nashim fiasco and it is a lot worse than how Dr. Druck describes it, she was being very shall we say "modest" regarding this scandal, the real story is worse, i am a chasidishe yungerman. believe me its worse. Ezras Nashim vans have been vandalized, their ads blocked form all frum magazines, Rabanim pressured not to support them, and much more
      and no its not "an anomaly" it is precisely an "example of a wider trend to control women."

    9. I do feel sorry for all the internalised misandry that Dovid Kornreich feels he has to deal with by lecturing women.

      Or maybe a degree of organisational cooperation rather than parallel gender divided lines which never touch is simply common sense? Not least agreement is needed on the issue of gender politics. At the moment men are deciding what women can do.

    10. To Efrat:
      Your response is quite revealing. For someone who was waiting for opposition, it seems you were woefully unprepared for any dissection of your ideas. I take it that you don't have a third alternative? Am I left to guess which of the two issues you suffer from?

      Although you didn't manage to fool me into thinking you sincerely want to improve chareidi society, you did manage to fool me into thinking you want your ideas to be taken seriously by that society.
      If you can't muster any substantive responses to a lowly blogger like me, I don't know how you can delude yourself into thinking you can convince the chareidi leadership of anything.

      To na:
      After all I've explained about the plethora chareidi women's opportunities to service their communities, it either is an anomaly or there is something else going on.
      One commentor here mentioned it is Hatzoloh who is using its power and influence to knock out any competitors. If that is true then it doesn't reflect he values of chareidi society--only on that organization.

      There are dozens of chessed organizations of all kinds world-wide dominated by chareidi--even chasiddish--women with the blessing of the chareidi rabbinic establishment.
      That tells me that this EN case is an anomaly and that Dr. Druck is cherry-picking her examples in order skew the reality we all see all around us.

    11. to Dovid Kornreich
      you wrote "Hatzalah who is using its power and influence to knock out any competitors"

      so its just an organization blocking competition... nothing to see here..
      so think about this: could you in all honesty believe that a woman’s organization would have ever had clout to block men from becoming members of an organizing (that sevres men, no less!) or prevented those men from then forming their own organization for 10 years!! with Rabonim helping blocking it!!

      We all know that could not even be fathomed and coul’t happen in a million years. The simple reason is that there’s a HUGE imbalance of power between men and woman in Heredi sociaty, and woman would never get away with doing what men do all the time and then defend it (like you)

      So the question is why you disingenuously and willfully ignore it. its called blind spot, self interest, and that’s why we need more woman in positions of influence to be able to make you realize what you either can’t or don’t want to.

    12. Zichrom Devorim:
      you wrote "The EN fiasco had nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with a turf war."

      you are 100% right, it had NOTHING to do about Tznius and everything to do with a "a turf war" to be exact a turf over the bodies of woman.. no less

      And you had Rabonim fighting tooth and nail on the wrong side - in the corner of... Hatzolah.
      Male Rabomin with unquestioned authority and no input fromm woman take the wrong side in petty Turf wars over woman's bodies.
      This makes it BLINDIGLY clear why we cannot trust all male Rabonim to make all decisions and the need to give woman more say,
      its high time to end it, and the sooner the better for Kevod Shemayim

    13. To Efrat:
      It was brought to my attention by Yosef R. in the previous thread, that I have been misspelling your name in the comments to this post. I'm sorry, but this was not intentional and was not done to mock your name.
      As you can see, I did not misspell it in the previous post's comments. (Now I understand why you chose to mock my name in return.)

      To na:
      As I explained in my response to you in the previous post, I fully agree with Dr. Bruck's observation about enormous power differentials between men and women (i.e. "who makes the rules"). In that thread, I was actually acknowledging that this is a basic feature of chareidi society, and that trying to minimize rabbinic power over women was effectively trying to tear down chareidi society. (This is why her claims of trying to help chareidi society cannot be sincere. You don't help a society by dismantling some of its basic foundations.)

      The fact that this foundational power differential sometimes leads to hypocrisy and abuse of power by men is not at all a feature of the system. It is a bug and should called out and corrected. We agree on this.

      But to also argue that chareidi women have categorically been stymied from expressing their talents by rabbinic power and are barred from influencing and serving the wider community in many vital capacities is simply an insidious feminist canard. It also deserved to be called out.

    14. To Kornreich,

      It's not about being theoretically able to speak to "millions of women worldwide". It's about the very real fact that in practice we can only express ourselves a very little fraction of the time while in haredi circles. By contrast, when we step out of these circles, we can speak, take charge etc without it being seen as an ego thing.

      Think of it that way: What if, from now on, you were only able to speak in public in front of people with curly hair? Sure, there are a lot a curly haired people. Billions worldwide, certainly. It would only be the sign of a overblown ego to find it restrictive, or perhaps of a secret hatred of curls.

      But no. What this rule actually means it's that you're forever barred from speaking in public. It's obvious your opinion would be less taken into account when making decisions. It's obvious your access to positions of power would be reduced. Your voice would almost never be heard, and it's not an attack on curled hair people to acknowledge that fact.

      Even if there were special schools and shiurim for curled hair people (which only exist because straight hairs allowed them to), it doesn't change the fact that outside of them curls aren't allowed to express an opinion, and that what's inside of them is shaped by the opinions of straight hairs who never heard a curled hair express their opinions in public.

    15. Your analogy to curly-haired people is ridiculous on its face. Women make up more than half of every population--they are not some sliver society that is only available to be spoken to "a very little fraction of the time".

      You could argue that chareidi men congregate together more often than chareidi women so men have more opportunities to speak in front of a group of men than women have to speak in front of a group of women.
      But this is only true for married women. Single women on the other hand--especially those in a school or seminary--are always available to be spoken to. There is no lack of opportunities for talented women to speak or perform in girls' schools and seminaries, camps and getaway retreats etc. on a constant basis.
      And even for marrieds, there is the local neighborhood or kollel or shul "N'shei" where married women are encouraged to speak or perform in front of their peers and have an impact.

      So I thoroughly reject your premise that chareidi women are severely restricted to rare opportunities to express themselves publicly. I also have first-hand experience to the contrary from female members of my family.

      And public speaking is not the only venue available for women to express themselves and influence the public. As I wrote in the comment to Dr. Bruck's first post, people don't seem to (or don't want to) appreciate that women absolutely dominate all kinds of frum print media.
      Both in writing and in illustrating, there is tremendous creative talent being expressed by chareidi women and it is incredibly impactful--even on men! Rebbetzin Heller (now Gottleib) printed her Torah and mussar seforim with mainstream chareidi publishing houses!

      So please spare me--stop spreading the lie that women are barred from speaking in public or have no voice or no outlet for self-expression.
      You are trying to deny the reality that all of us can see around us all the time.

  10. The most ludicrous argument from the head of hatzoloh was nobody has ever seen a woman deliver a baby, then in the all Tanach you'll never find but women delivering babies.

    1. Your argument is almost as ludicrous. You don't actually think that Nach is relevant over here.

      Of course, many babies are delivered by women the world over, and they do a fine job. But Nach is hardly a proof.

    2. Ludicrous, isn't it, referring to actual sources. We should all make it up as we go along like men have been doing in Shu"t for aeons. Ludicrous to look at Devorah as a role model. Judaism is a gentleman's club.

    3. Even today men delivering babies are called male midwives

    4. I am troubled about several things here:
      1. Dr. Bruk makes the sweeping accusation that in Chareidi Judaism men make decisions for women.
      Q. Does she deny the ascendancy of the Talmud (actually, almost all of the Torah), which was written exclusively by men?
      2. She has issues with women not being taught Gemara, and accuses the "Rabbis" as discriminating against women.
      Q. The Talmud drives from Chumash that women are exempt from learning Torah. This is unequivocally accepted by all halachic authorities. Notwithstanding what exactly that means in the 21st century, did the Rabbis of the Talmud intend to put down women? Does God?
      3. Q. Might someone explain to me the "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" attitude of Dr. Bruk. Is there nothing more to Yeshivish Judaism besides anti-feminism? Why abandon an entire society and all of its values because of a single issue? Can't she pick and choose what she thinks is right and wrong?
      Brings to mind Julia Haart, who became a thorough apostate because her insular community discouraged her from become a fashion designer. Haart talks about tzniyus, but has abandoned virtually all of the Torah. Dr. Bruk says she understands Haart. I wish she could explain her to me.

  11. Having women's Hazolah team driving confidently with sirens on would upset the male female relationship in the Charedi community. As the women gain more confidence, more will want to go for it and try other things as well. The society is afraid of changes. Their resistance is understandable. It's regrettable, but no society is perfect. Are there women Hazolah teams in modern communities? I haven't heard of any.

    Teaching women Gemorah in Beis Yakov is a strange demand. In what educational system they do it and what's the outcome? I've noticed that women studying Gemorah generally leads to less not more observance.

    1. I think this is fair to say Orthodoxy in general has a woman problem.

      Agguda male Rabbi response to demands for women's equality: scratches beard, cracks awkward joke.

      MO response: holds learned symposium, expresses how grateful they are for women's contribution and expertise, sacks Rabbi Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz from LSJS and thanks her for her years of dedicated service.

    2. Yes, orthodoxy has a halachik problem ordaining women rabbis. Even rabbi Saul lieberman of the Conservative movement had a problem with it. Resorting to ad hominem attacks without addressing the substance of the halachik argument will get you nowhere.

    3. Well: I will say this. Halacha and cultural tradition are formally intertwined as minhag. The minhag hamokom in 2021 is to treat women as sentient adults.

      You won't find a prohibition against appointing women to the Rabbinate enshrined in Halacha apart from a vague Rambam, the interpretation of which is very much a matter of cultural choice.

      In the time of the elder Rabbi Kook, it was held by him and those to the right of him that women ought not to vote. I don't see many Rabbis holding by this particular minhag nowadays. And we know exactly why. When votes, power and money are at stake to men, somehow hetterim emerge.

      Women have been crying out for thousands of years "lomo nigora" - from the beginning of creation, the Kabbalists would have us believe. It is time for men to hear them.

  12. Wait! Ezras Noshim has happened. I wasn't following the news, sorry. So what's the problem? The website looks great and has a modest Charedi flavor to it. My girls use a female obstetrician. The acceptance will widen with time.

    1. Sure it only took 10 years of fighting the non stop obstructionism, boycott campaign, smear campaign, vandalism, and ALL Hatzalah members REMSCO NYC voting against the license of Hatzalah.

      Ezras Nashim only got their license because the vote went to Albany where the "Goyim" at Albany REMSCO (where Hatzolah has no clout, thanks GOD) couldn’t vote against Ezrash nashim for fear of being correctly labeled as anti-Semites or perhaps they voted in favor because they (the Goyim!!!) understood the concerns and the “Tznius” sensibilities of OUR woman better than our Rabonim do.... just think about that..
      But of course “ Noshim has happened” so whats the problem?
      The huge problem is that it happened only because GOYIM voted for it and it took 10 years because Hatzolah and Rabonim were dead set against it, THAT’S THE PROBLEM. Do you get it??

    2. I get it, but now it's here to stay. Also, I was not following the story and am relying on your description. At any rate, the common sense prevailed and that's a good thing.

    3. common sense from the OUTSIDE of our community forced the issue, left to our own devices, namely boys club Hatzalah and their enablers - male dominated Daa's Torah, this would have never happened.

      If we need GOYIM to step over the noses of Rabanim and powerful men in our community to force us to do the right thing then its a sure sign that change is desperately needed

  13. I've never understood the justification for women not learning in some communities. Everyone agrees women are obligated to know the halachos that apply to them, which is probably 99% of Torah and includes all of Choshen Mishpat, large parts of Kodshim, just about all of Zeraim and Tahoros, ..........

  14. Now, for a blog that believes in evolution it should be obvious that the genders had evolved differently over hundreds of thousands of years. והוא ימשול בך.

    1. Evolution means things *don't* stay the same as they were for hundreds of thousands of years?

    2. Both are correct - gender differences indeed evolved - obviously at a really really really early stage, to the point where ALL CREATURES about single celled organisms have genders. And then the genders developed different biological and psychological needs and patterns. Men and women are indeed different.

      But then over the past several thousand years of human existence, the genders - and society as a whole - have been evolving still more. So yeah, society has evolved to the point where limiting women is generally recognized to be unfairly suppressive. Are there things that modern secular society tries to ram down our throats? Yup! and we need to fight this and hope the pendulum swings back on certain issues. Men and women are still different. But that difference does not extend to the workplace or to the smile in front of the camera.

  15. Would you volunteer for Ezras Nashim? Sounds like they would benefit from a strong medical woman like yourself.

    1. Being a medical resident is not the same thing as being an EMT. Your time is not your own, and your training is focused on other things.

      Although you might get lots of practice in intubation!!

  16. Anyone remember Shoftim perek Daled - Devorah Neviah - "hei shoftah es Yisroel . . ."

    Another previous poster did mention correctly there are multitudes of "frum" "mainstream" "Rebitzins" giving shurim / torah classes that can be reached by all audiences on line, many of them are quite good.

    the EN / Hatzolah nonsense continues even today with their ambulances getting vandalized, blocked in all completely unnecessary!!

    Girls should be taught critical thinking from source material even if it would mean learning a daf gemorah every now and again.

  17. The main post is very eloquent, and I can understand the author's displeasure with the status quo. But it seems like an example of "I care about issues XYZ, therefore, I believe that lots of other haredi women care about issues XYZ." The second half of the sentence does not logically follow from the first half.

    1. Ah but don't forget the missing step:
      I care about XYZ and MY THINKING WAS SUPPRESSED therefore there is the concern that others care about XYZ and ARE HAVING THEIR THINKING SUPPRESSED.

      Leaving aside the obvious statistical phenomenon of out of several hundred thousand female young people in the Yeshivish-Chareidi world, you don't think that there are a few hundred who have similar - rather normal, IMHO - interests? It's not like Dr. Bruck ran away to the circus and chose to become the human cannonball...

  18. Is is all about fear of losing control.
    The chareidi leadership fears to loose control of of the ultra orthodox people. If this society is the truth, why do they fear to meet someone that is not from it, or to learn science?
    Here in Israel is even worst that in the US, rabbis are actively against learning in university a profession.
    As long as they get the money from the country, and no one knows where exactly it goes, Then it is very easy to tell the people to stay in Yeshivot and go to kollels and remain poor and without skills to get a good job, when they themselves can give homes to all of their children.
    It is time to recognize that the king is naked.

  19. A few hundred men and women of many types (some might not even be Jewish?) and economic statuses voted thumbs up when Ester Zelmanovitz shared her denial of some of Dr. Bruck's claims.

    What about Dr. Bruck's immediate and extended female charedi relatives, does she think they are resentful etc.? Do they think so?

    Does Dr. Bruck have a thumbs-up crowd similar to Ester Zelmanovitz and who are they? Charedim? Non-charedim? ...

  20. Sorry, I'm a charedi woman (living in EY), and I'm not resentful, angry, and simmering, nor do I know any woman who is (or if she is, she hasn't shown / conveyed it to me). I am the first to say that things are not perfect (and in some respects far from perfect) in the charedi community, but I still see it as the superior option. I'm sure there are some who are resentful etc., but I highly doubt that it's the majority or anything close to that.

  21. There's no secret group of rabbonim, twisting their mustaches, (a la protocols of the elders of zion), plotting on how to keep frum women oppressed, as they sip scotch in a secret hideout. But to an author lacking any sense of subtlety, nuance and self awareness, there's no difference between a secret society and the one time she saw a viral clip of a rabbi making a joke at a convention.

  22. So now we are offered the wisdom of the newest Slifkin wannabe. Sorry, but you'll need more talent to join the club. And Slifkin's success is largely because he started out with half the charedi community behind him, till the other half staged their coup. Pictures in glossy charedi magazines has no precedent, handicapping those that the overwhelming majority sees as gender benders. If you want to see pictures of women, go buy an artscroll book, or watch a kiruv, MO, or gentile video.

    Dr. Bruck isn't sure why she is bothered by charedim selling their lifestyle as the happiest, most fulfilling and most satisfying life. This is simple, because if it's true then she can't complain that the men are shortchanging the women.

    She cherishes her years involved in Kiruv. But they were one big lie. So own your sin and stop cherishing them.

    She imagines that Rabbi Brudny says that charedi men treat their wives better. But see 108:00 that he's talking not about charedim but about everyone at the convention, they are “Bnei Torah” cause they came to hear what the Torah says. This would include many MOs, or for all I know, all of them.

  23. Dr. Bruck suggests that not concentrating/perpetuating decision-making power and other powers solely in the hands of men might actually prevent things that gave rise to the #metoo movement. An educated guess indeed. Has she also considered what Torah literature has to say on the matter? Has she inquired? Why not start with צריך אדם להתרחק מהנשים מאד מאד ? Oh but R. Yosef Karo said that and he's a man. So manage without the men-written Gemara too.

    She wonders if anyone can explain to her how not printing pictures of women equals the prevention of men acting inappropriately. I wouldn't take up the challenge. But others will accept that we're not talking about a point to point protocol, rather about creating overall awareness as frequently as possible and avoiding its opposite.

    Dr. Bruck thinks that when men have a problem the only solution offered is to limit women. No, there's also the Citifield Asifa, pressuring men to take on the benevolent headache of using filters, and a barrage of advertisements originating in Israel equating cell phone use with the most horrid sins.

    An important detail of R. Lopiansky's response, and the moderator points out that he lives in Silver Spring, is that Mishpacha should service the 'Rov'. The perspective of the 'Miut'--I imagine they're easy to find in Silver Spring--isn't dismissed out of hand. This is missing from Dr. Bruck's presentation. We once received twice the same exact flier from a certain charedi organization, except that one had women pictures and the other didn't. The women in our home couldn't give a hoot. They're from the 'Rov'.

  24. For me what's deeply troubling is the ubiquitous mispronunciation of the pasuk in Tehillim 45: “Kol kevodah bas melech….” WRONG! It's kevudah, with a shuruk.

    1. Oh my goodness! That's my fault. She wrote kevudah, and I thought, "That can't be right!" and I changed it!

  25. More feminist propaganda. Everyone has their role in Judaism. The cook in the army is not on the front line.


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