By Rivka Perlman

December 24, 2012

Can Jewish Women be Public Figures?An Epilogue to the Esther Jungreis Post

I talk here about struggling with public speaking and other forms of leadership¬† in front of men, and you may be thinking , “Hu? what’s the big deal?”

The internet has made my question even stronger because whatever I put out is fair game for anyone to look at. Which means equal parts yay! and ugh!

Did you know  that sacredness is the hallmark of Jewish life?

Sacredness means that everything is special – and its specialness is brought out by being in the right time and place.

Which brings me to my quandary.

“The glory of the woman is with in her innerness.” The Midrash tells us that when G-d fashioned Eve, as He created each limb, He implored and directed”be modest, be modest.”

So if modesty is women’s most primary quality, I wondered if I was messing with how I’m supposed to be, by stepping out – by being so public. And I do believe that my primary work is in my home. So how do I make sense of it?

I also have some awesome friends who share similar qualities as me. ( I lovingly call it – a big mouth – in all the best ways.) Outgoing, strong women who have a lot to say and have big dreams.

We struggle sometimes with putting it all together – the contrast between the image of the soft spoken nurturer¬† and the reality of this dancing fire inside of us that doesn’t let us sit still. ( If you’re one of those women, read this article¬† for a very clear Torah view)

If you listened to the video above, you’ll see how I got my answer.

I still don’t understand it fully – but I now feel free to go in the direction that G-d is sending me.

Qualification – I am not talking here about anything that breaks with Jewish tradition , such a female pulpit Rabbi’s.¬† This inquiry is all with¬† the boundaries¬† of Jewish law and Torah guidelines.

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