Last night I went with a few friends to see the movie Suffragettes. After leaving the movie, my friends and I did not know how to react. It was a very intense movie, that is retelling a very intense past- which unfortunatly a story that is still happening.
It was brutal to see how the women were beaten. It was heart renching to hear the women being emotionally abused. It was unbelievably sad to see what the woman had to give up. But at the same time it was so amazing to see how the women continued to push forward; fight against those who wanted to push them down; and were able to continue to support one another, even when some people had to leave for personal reasons.
From the start of the movie, all I could think about was how it relates to my life. How in 50 years time, there will be a movie about Orthodox female rabbis and all of the abuse, hardness, and fights that we have had to put on. How crazy it is to see women then oppose the vote, which to me is the same as today women (and men) opposing women having leadership positions and authority within Jewish life. How still men in the world have all of the power- even those who are “allies”, and how even then they are still in charge and will still have the power. How the forms of emotional abuse are still happening today.
Throughout all of my deciding to change programs one feeling that I still have at times is that I gave up. I know that I am still studying to be a rabbi, and I am still fighting for the right to be seen and heard- but I am doing it in a different place. I am now in a place that accepts women in these postitions more. I am in a place that has already placed women. A program where the other women are outspoken and are fighting- instead of staying with a group that I was the fighter; that I was the one getting others the confidence that they can and should fight as well.
I am thankful that my fight doesn’t get me into situations where someone is punching me or sending me to jail. But as a friend told me, “emotional abuse is sometimes worse.” But just like these women, myself and my collegues have given up and lost bits (or large parts of ourselves) along the way. We also recognize that we are part of history, and will be changing the face of Judaism as we know it. Even with all of the fighting, and the times that I want to quit and not do this anymore because I don’t have the energy or strength any more- I agree with the line “I would rather be a rebel than a slave.”