Klal Perspectives, Vol. 1 Issue 2


With considerable pride and collective exhaustion, the editorial board of Klal Perspectives announces the publication of our second issue, devoted to the changing dynamic within the Orthodox Jewish family.

Readers will instantly grasp that it is women who have been disproportionally impacted by adding “breadwinner” – in whole or in part – to all of the other line-items in their resumes. Thus it is appropriate that women contributors to this issue outnumber men 8 to 5. Once again, contributors represent a wide swath of contemporary Orthodoxy, center and right. Once again, readers will be pleased to see discussion of important issues that are not monolithic and monochromatic. The sheer difference in style – in perspective – speaks eloquently of the talent that we possess as a community.

It would be foolish to represent that the writers could speak openly about everything on their minds. Discretion is still very much in evidence, and should not be surprising. The first step in responsible change in the Torah community is discussion and sharing ideas – not storming the Bastille. Even with writers holding back, the response from readers to the first issue was incredibly positive. Many found chizuk simply in finding diversity of opinion, rather than a party line.
I found Feige Twerski’s submission breathtaking in its courage and honesty. (It seems to run in the Twerski family, apparently extending even to those who marry into it.) I suspect that it will attract a cult-following, even though I can’t figure out how families that are already cash-strapped will be able to free up women from participating meaningfully in bringing home the kosher bacon.

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb states the unexpected: remove all financial need, and many Orthodox women are still going to elect to pursue vocations that express their considerable talent and ability.

Debbie Fox focuses entirely on the practical, and is eminently sensible in calling attention to small changes in attitude that are realizable and will make a difference.

I shouldn’t give away much more. Readers are invited to see for themselves, and help continue what we hope will become an important forum for ideas and change within the Orthodox world.

Once again, it is hard to beat a price of “free.”

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3 years 9 months ago

I passed this link to some of my friends and family, and I received the following remarks from an elderly relative of mine, who is not religious. I haven’t finished reading yet, so I won’t comment, but I think her comments are worth publishing:
“I read all the articles with varying degrees of interest. Thanks for posting. A couple of writers seemed to dwell on the past…when, supposedly, women didn’t work outside the home. That point reminded me of my mother’s grandmother (on her father’s side). (1800s) She ran a farm and an inn and gave birth to… Read more »

3 years 9 months ago

I ordinarily enjoy Dr. Bill’s comments, but I have some reservations about his comment above. Much of it assumes that all the men in the orthodox world are in kollel. Well, he isn’t, and I’m not, and none of my neighbors are . . . you get the picture. The reality is, the majority of orthodox men are NOT in Kollel. And these men, like men since time immemorial, DO expect to be the primary breadwinners. And I fully support Beis Yaakov’s program in this respect. I dont think it’s healthy, in many ways, for a mother to be a… Read more »

Dr. E
3 years 9 months ago

Having read some of the articles, I would say that some are on the mark, some are bold, some merely try to be bold, and some are downright off-the-mark. But, I guess that is what diversity is all about. But, as a topic, there is a forum of at least giving it a somewhat intellectually honest treatment (unless someone of course feels that the open expression of ideas by both men and women warrants its being put into Cherem.)

To take two examples, Rabbi Weinreb is spot-on. (He certainly “gets it” and that’s not surprising in light of his professional training,… Read more »

3 years 9 months ago

Two issues I don’t think were raised:

Our society expects women to be available to fill certain jobs – for example, nursery teachers for girls and boys, and teachers and administrators in girls’ schools and seminaries straight through. Many of these teaching jobs can be somewhat part time (at least the out-of-the-house component can be part time); senior administrators generally don’t have very young children. But we couldn’t manage without women, presumably including mothers, in the workforce.

The disappearing extended family. As several writers pointed out, women have always done more than mothering and basic housework (with an interlude for the middle… Read more »

joel rich
3 years 9 months ago

Summary I gave someone who asked: economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources to unlimited demand. As individuals, families and communities we seem to have a problem agreeing on allocation priorities. (but I’m sure David F. knew I’d say that :-)).

So since there seems to be no stomach for a community wide process to resolve this alolocation issue, it will happen in the usual “messy” way and allow HKB”H to paskin through history.

David F.
3 years 9 months ago

I loved the first edition of Klal Perspectives and look forward to reading this one as well. To me, the lack of comments is a plus because I already know exactly how every single regular commenter on CC will respond so there’s not much to learn from them. More importantly, it forces me to spend more time contemplating the words of the author which were doubtless written with much forethought and contemplation and are worthy of extra deliberation. In the end, I may or may not agree with all or some of what they’ve written, but my perspective and understanding… Read more »

3 years 9 months ago

Possibly the biggest chiddush to me was the thought, I think attributed to Rav Shach (I might be wrong, I only skimmed KP and have limited computer access for a week so can’t check it now) that there is a great danger of aiming for mediocrity. I appreciate this, tremendously. But the first round of post-churban “chemotherapy” has created a generation of young men who see things as either-or: one can only be a ben Torah if one is going on the kollel trajectory. We don’t see as many bnei Torah working young men. The median age of our… Read more »

3 years 9 months ago

Where can we read the Klal Perspectives?

Heard that Rebbetzin Feige of Milwaukee was perfectly on target (as usual) on Women Issues.

[YA – I linked it in the article. If the link is broken, it’s at http://klalperspectives.org/
I agree that she is daringly on target, although I don’t see that she has any proposals for solving the economic crunch that drives women into the full-time workplace.]

3 years 9 months ago

Great, timely topic, great essays. Wow.
But why are comments closed on KP? Isn’t the idea of this to foster communal discussion?

[YA – For many reasons, we want Klal Perspectives to be more of a journal than a blog. We will publish selected letters, and hopefully some feedback from the authors. None of the advisory board have time to supervise a blog-like enterprise, even if we wanted. We haven’t fully come up with a time-table for publishing the letters, but BEH it will happen sooner, rather than later.]