The Jewish woman's career is tending to the needs of her family as a loyal wife, mother and homemaker; and, if she must go to work, the purpose is to help support the family, and not to look for a career outside her home.The second author has an even bigger soapbox and is far more grim:
But pretending that men and women are identical and interchangeable in their life-roles – the much-cherished “egalitarian” approach – not only offends Jewish tradition, it may bode demographic disaster…Jewish women can choose to embraceThe problem with these approaches is that they assert a false dilemma, a tactic I discussed once in the context of Zionism, but which rears its logically fallacious head over and over. The argument assumes that there is a necessary contradiction between career and home and then forces the reader into making a choice. Yet, even those who espouse this view are forced to confront reality: many women have careers (and yes, even teaching kindergarten in Bais Ya’akov is a career of sorts) and still maintain Torah-true homes. Rather than abandon the argument, instead, these folks claim that motive rather than deed is the true measure of (wo)man. As long as our veiber pledge allegiance to the home, the reality of working 9-5 and having the kinder watched by a babysitter need not concern us.
contemporary society’s game-playing in the guise of egalitarianism and squander their specialness. Or they can answer life’s “role-call” with a resounding, Abrahamic, “Here I am!”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of any issur for a woman to pursue a career. One of the follow-up comments argued that of course the husband must work because he is bound by the kesubah to support his wife. Ironic choice of proof, because Chazal actually legislate that a wife has the express right to say “aini nizones v’aini oseh”, I will forgo being supported by my husband and take charge of my own finances! Sure, the Torah emphasizes the importance of the home and family, but who does the chores and who goes to work is not subject to halachic mandate. Even if one must make a choice between career and home, working out a proper balance is a topic that must addressed by a husband and wife together in the context of their individual relationship, taking account of their joint responsibility to home and family as well as their individual career aspirations. There is no one cookie-cutter answer that halacha directs every couple to follow.
These attitudes make their way into our children’s world of chinuch. To quote another blogger’s post, her daughter was told by a well-meaning teacher, "Your daughter is smart, but you don't have to worry. She's not so smart that she'll have a problem getting a shidduch." After all, one would not want to risk having a girl who might be more intelligent than her husband, or who might want to use that intelligence to pursue a career or even to take a leadership role in Judaism. Best to squash this notions from the beginning and dumb down our daughters.
Fortunately, my depression was lifted slightly when I read an article about the new girls’ HS, Midreshet Shalhevet, opening in the 5Towns. The Jewish Star reports (p. 7) on the mentoring program the school intends to initiate to expose the girls to role models who manage to balance home, career, and family. Dr. Blau, the principal, is quoted, “We are here to… prepare women academically, professionally, and personally, and to install in them the confidence to do all they desire in the future. We want our girls to be Jewishly and secularly educated in a first-rate way, participating in Jewish communal life and taking on significant roles to fulfill their potential.” Rabbi Friedman, the head of Machon haTorah, the umbrella organization the school is under, further commented, “The whole world is open to them, within the framework of halacha.”
Of course, not every school fulfills the lofty intentions it sets out to achieve, but it is heartening to note that there is no false dilemma philosophy here, no artificial ceiling on success. One can only hope that these young women absorb the ideals of their chinuch and in turn can serve as role models for others.