Changing the Siddur
There is a raging controversy regarding "Open Orthodoxy" and especially its changes to the role of women in Judaism. I must confess that I am really, really not "up" on it. It hasn't reached Israel, and it doesn't actually interest me that much.
Personally, I am fairly conservative, with a small "c," from a halachic standpoint. I believe that in order for Orthodoxy to survive, it must follow the approach of Rav Glasner and Rav Herzog, whereby we accept the authority of Chazal regardless of whether we agree with their reasoning. I believe that, in the face of contemporary challenges to the halachic lifestyle and ideology, a certain amount of stubborn rigidity is required (which is one reason why I don't wear techeles, despite being convinced that it is the Murex trunculus). I see God as undeniably and necessarily unequal in His distribution of opportunities. I see it as being perfectly reasonable, as well as strongly supported by modern science, to state that the differences between men and women extend beyond their physical differences. And I am way too suspicious of the transient nature of contemporary morality to demand that Judaism conform to it.
With that introduction, let me draw your attention to a source that recently crossed my path, and to an observation.
First, the source. Embarrassed apologies if I am late to the party with this one, but the idea that only a modern feminist Reformer would be dissatisfied with the berachah of shelo asani ishah appears to be neatly refuted by this Italian woman's siddur from 1471, which changes the berachah of she-asani kirtzono to she-asisani ishah ve-lo ish:
Though I must frankly admit to being personally very glad that Hashem did not make me a woman!
Second, an observation: It is ironic that, of those who protest the loudest about how any change to the siddur is unthinkable, they are often from communities in which a certain tefillah that was recited by many of their ancestors for generations has been utterly exorcised: Hanosein teshuah le-melachim. Apparently it's okay to change the siddur if you believe that you are doing so for a really, really good reason (which, in the particular case of Hanosein teshuah le-melachim, entirely escapes me).
(On another note, I will be visiting London of a lecture tour for the last weekend of November, speaking at Golders Green synagogue and other places to be announced.)