The question of religion and gender
McGuires Premise: A groups approach to defining womens roles merely reflects its general attitude about relationship of its tradition to conditions of modern society.
|e.g., ordination of women.|
|Relationship of religion to class.|
|Religion generally supports the values and goals of the ruling class.|
Zuckermans main point/thesis: understandings of gender and religiosity are inextricably woven together; and efforts to challenge or change gender roles will inevitably involve religion (370).
|Zuckermans focus: cultural significance of gender.|
What is "gender regulation"? "Process by which a community attempts to define, institute, and justify masculine and feminine behavior and roles for its members."
Gender regulation concerned w/ publicnot privateroles & practices.
|Two sets of issues:|
|Synagogue members disagreed over the central meanings of gender.|
|Gender regulation is a major element of Jewish religious identity.|
|Purpose of Zuckermans article: to place gender regulation explicitly in context of a Jewish religious schism.|
Several sources of this schism but issue of gender most salient.
|Key source of schism: use of the mehitzah, or a partition, separates men and women during prayer.|
|Core values under Rabbi Kinbergs tenure: diversity, universalism and egalitarianism.|
|N.B.: Symbolic nature of the mehitzah issue.|
|The mehitzah symbolized tradition for some; for others it represented oppression.|
Durkheimian stress on importance of symbols.
|"competing systems of moral understanding"|
|orthodox/progressive or conservative/liberal divide|
Assumption implicit in Zuckermans arguments: religion is a culturally unitary blueprint. But what about religions as a morally multi-vocal, dialectical conversation, even argument?