Equality for women at Sinai

By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
May 27, 2010

I was struck by a photo in one of last week’s papers of a sea of male figures dressed in tuxedos and an almost invisible shock of long blonde hair in the centre. A paradox that one can be almost invisible, yet have a shock of hair in the centre. The shock of hair was that of Jane Campion, the only female film director to appear in that photo of the world’s film directors at the Cannes Film Festival.

It has been fascinating to see how the new government is taking shape and one of the most arresting sights was of course the first sitting of the cabinet. Four out of twenty-eight of those sat around the table are women.

Thinking of our own tradition, I was smug for a fleeting moment as I looked at the Book of Ruth and reflected that the Books of Ruth and Esther are the only megillot – scrolls associated with our festival cycle – to feature an individual and they are women – the others being Kohelet – Ecclesiastes - for Sukkot, Shir ha’Shirim – the Song of Songs – for Pesach and Eicha, Lamentations for Tisha B’Av. It was a brief moment of smugness though, as I looked ahead to this Shabbat and the return of all the blokes, the Prophets who dominate our Haftarah cycle.

read the rest of the Shavuot sermon http://www.npls.org.uk/Sermons/New/Shavuot%205770.html


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