We Jewish women have a long history of courageous and tenacious foremothers. We are the proud offspring of Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah, four strong matriarchs who laid the groundwork for succeeding generations. Each of these ladies made significant contributions to our history and left us with a legacy rich in beauty and courage.
Jewish women have always been seen as the keepers of holiness in their homes. As the “foundation of the home,” or “akeret habayit,” they are charged with the sacred duty of creating a place where Judaism can be honored. Jewish law has always granted women a number of liberties unmatched by many other ancient nations. They were permitted to request a divorce, for instance, if their husband behaved repulsively or vanished for more than three years. Tighter laws and monetary penalties for abusive husbands helped prevent domestic violence as well.
Jewish law not only protects women but also excuses them from several mitzvot due to their greater level of spirituality and practical considerations. Although some people might interpret this as discriminatory, the intention was to acknowledge that each person has unique obligations based on their unique talents and abilities. On the other hand, in more recent generations, women have placed a strong emphasis on Torah learning. Women are equal partners in establishing a holy environment in their homes, according to talmudic teachings, something that should be more recognized and valued in modern society.
At its core, Judaism upholds gender equality, with each partner contributing significantly to the maintenance of a thriving religious community. Let’s not overlook those who came before us and made it possible for us to live our lives freely in line with our beliefs while we work to build an even brighter future for ourselves. Let’s honor all the contributions made to this planet by our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters! May we never forget our position in history, where we stand on the shoulders of those who toiled so arduously for us, and may we always uphold their memory by working together to do greater things?