Rabbi Dr. Haviva Ner-David is a rabbi, teacher, and writer living on Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee in Israel. She is the author of Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Towards Traditional Rabbinic Ordination and the forthcoming Giving Chanah Voice: A Feminist Rabbi Reclaims the Women's Mitzvoth of Baking, Bathing, and Brightening. She is the founding director of Reut: The Center for Modern Jewish Marriage, as well as the Hannaton Mikveh Ritual and Educational Center.
There is a strong tradition of writing intentions for mikveh immersion. Why not write one’s intention not merely in words, but in the form of a mandala or Shiviti? And so I found myself one winter evening with a circle of women around a table with a single candle, drawing paper, and various drawing and painting implements.
If you can understand why Gilad’s parents pushed for this swap, you can understand why I don’t want my son to serve in combat. It’s not rational. It’s not about my left wing political opinions or the fact that I am not a native Israeli. It’s because I am a mother. I am simply doing my job.
My second daughter, Meira, got her period for the first time earlier this year, right before her bat mitzvah. With her older sister, Michal, we had initiated a new family ritual of a “period party” – but this time, things were different.
When I lived in Jerusalem, I felt that I was in the majority, and oppressing a minority. Living in Galilee, I am even more humbled. I feel that I am in a minority oppressing a majority.
I applaud the Orthodox clergy who recently condemned homophobia in their attempt to be compassionate, but is it healthy for families to be part of a community that they know accepts them only out of pity?
When everyone is retreating into their separate camps out of fear of the “other,” I feel a special need to be in a space of solidarity. All I want to do is weave baskets with these Arab women.
In Israel, all Jewish marriages must go through the Israeli Rabbinate. But what if you want a non-Orthodox wedding?
In a society that values “doing” above all else, pushing us to “accomplish” and “succeed,” experiencing silence allows for simply “being” present in the moment and open to what may arise as a result.
The biggest fear of male rabbis who refuse to share their authority with women like Sara Hurwitz is that they’ll cause the breakdown of the status quo. I hope they are correct.
New to Kibbutz Hannaton in the Lower Galilee, I looked forward to buying mostly organic, locally grown and produced food. Finding it was harder than I thought.
ZEEK is presented by The Jewish Daily Forward | Maintained by SimonAbramson.com