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On Jews, Religion, and the Feminist Struggle for Equality

Having read an extensive discussion about Judaism, my eyes have been opened to the richness of its festivities, traditions, and the sociopolitical aspects involved in this religion. I am surprised to know that it has numerous quaint and bizarre similarities with how Christians, whose religion also espouses the belief in one God, celebrates important events in their Liturgical Year. Definitely, it has preserved its own unique and distinct ways of observing certain “Holy Days” and has endured in keeping faith very intact among its strict and devout followers.

However, despite the many colorful rituals and interesting practices that are customarily followed in this religion, looking at Judaism from the outside, I cannot help but pose some questions regarding certain characteristics that are part of the culture of the Jews. One that clearly stood out is how women are treated. As an Asian who is accustomed to the matriarchal culture that predominates in certain parts of Southeast Asia like Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines, I cannot help but criticize how Jews, particularly those belonging to the Orthodox sect, treat their women unfairly.

This is clearly observed during Biblical times and probably until today in Jewish societies in the world. It is somehow disturbing and I find it hypocritical to note the incongruence of a God-fearing man who believes in a just God being the same man who regards a woman as inferior. A woman is equally created by the God he worships, and yet she is treated with either apparent or concealed injustice. How this prevailed among the Jews is a most perplexing paradox.

Hence, it is comforting to know that some of the women of this religion have been awakened and decided to challenge and change the status quo. Like all religions, there are certain things that may turn out to be absurd and intolerable against one’s moral standards. This all depends on the practices and norms that a group has been accustomed to; however, those practices that are discriminatory ought to be changed if the Jews are to remain progressive over time.

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