Over Shabbat I was talking to a friend about the new fad of “Hafrashat Challah.” We spoke about the giant Hafrashot Challah that were happening the days before for the Shabbat Project, the shuls and communities that are doing them as programming for the women in the community. And then she told me that a friend of hers wants to do one for her bachelorette party. My initial reaction was one of sadness and slight anger.
What are we doing to Jewish women? Why are we telling them that there are “magical” powers in taking challah? And why are we pushing it so much that it is a woman’s mitzvah?! In reality, anyone who uses that much flour in anything they make (so if you are making industrial amounts of pie).
I’ve been trying to figure out why this makes me so upset. I don’t necessarily know exactly. It hurts me that in order to get women involved in religion we have to make up rituals. Instead of finding ways to get women involved in actual rituals of Judaism, we need to find ways to take things that everyone allows them to do and then make a really big deal out of it. And not only make giant events, but also getting people to do it in their home as parties- because this is the way that God will listen to you.
I am not against women taking their mitzvah seriously. I’m not against women socializing around religious events. But once again we are playing at Judaism. We are unable to find a way to actually bring them into community, and so we find a way to make them feel special.