Posts Tagged ‘Women’

Preview of article

March 2, 2011 2 comments

Hello everyone. I have submitted my article to – I’m hoping they publish it without too much editing.  But I’m posting the original article here as a preview.  Spoiler:  There’s a shout out to In Harmony here!!!

Untitled Article:

Becoming an observant Jew was occasionally a scary undertaking.

When I was on the road to Orthodox Judaism, I would sometimes worry that I didn’t know enough and would embarrass myself while at the homes of observant Jews.  Although to the community’s credit they took any mistakes in stride and made me feel completely comfortable.

I would think a lot about all the stereotypes I had heard about Orthodox women.  I would think even more about it when I met women who didn’t fit that stereotype at all!

And I wondered if I, then an Ivy League student with grand ambitions, would find my place in a world that revolved around family, motherhood and exacting parameters for how to live one’s life.

Well, it’s been almost seven years now since I made the leap.  And not only have I been able to find my own niche, but I continue to be impressed at the versatility and ingenuity the members of the broad Orthodox community possess.

Rather than the monolithic character that people might perceive when encountering the Orthodox community, underneath the surface lies a vibrant and colorful core.
Case in point.  I live in Cleveland, Ohio.  We have four major Orthodox Jewish communities and the city is home to about 1000 Orthodox families. The community was recently privileged to host a brilliant performance of song, spirit and flair led by the all-women band In Harmony.

In Harmony was formed after two women in the community, each possessing a beautiful, clarion singing voice (and one with a drum set!) decided they wanted to express themselves and use the talent that G-d had given them.  They found a few other like-minded (and like-talented) women and the band was bor

Made up of members who had become religious later in life and those who were born into a religious family, the group breaks down all those barriers I worried about along my own journey. And their performance recently, in front of hundreds of women and girls in the Cleveland community, is proof.

So often, when a woman breaches the first few barriers into the frum world, she is bombarded with the importance of finding a suitable partner, being a wonderful wife and mothering precious children.  This is very true.  I have two children of my own and really have to work to follow the Torah’s expectations of me when it comes to my family.  There is a deep satisfaction in knowing I am, in this respect, doing what Hashem wants from me.

But I also have unique skills and talents – abilities that when activated, make me feel accomplished and fulfilled.  At the beginning of my journey, with all the talk of family and mortherhood, I thought I would have to give that up.  That working full-time and doing what I love just wasn’t going to mesh with the big family I dreamt of having and the children I wanted to raise in this beautiful lifestyle I chose.

The reality is, though, that the talents that each woman possesses just adds to the quality and beauty of our community.  Groups like In Harmony add song and joy, talented women who offer classes for women and girls in dance, art, and music add variety and color, and people like me and my peers whose strength is found in writing, verbal expression and navigating the corporate world can provide professional services and advice to frum organizations who need that to continue their worthy missions.

In living in the frum world I have gotten to truly see the beauty of it.  There is no need to suppress or hide one’s talents just because the stereotype might be that you are a wife and mother and nothing more.  Every frum woman I know is that AND so much more.  Hashem has given us all unique talents and abilities – and His Torah, while exacting in its expectations of us, also provides the space within which we can express those talents.

I am a full-time professional, a wife, a mother and a Torah Jew.  And I’m grateful (and relieved) that my identity is in no way a contradiction – rather a beautiful expression of who Hashem meant me to be.




Categories: Life in General, Me Tags: , ,