Who is the OrthoFeminist?

I started this blog way back in 2006, back when I first started college. At that point, I was in a transitional period in my life. I was leaving behind my Ultra-Orthodox Jewish parents to live the college life. I moved into the dorms, chose my classes, and basically just blended into the scene as much as possible.

My parents were very supportive of me. They were both college educated and believed that a college education was key to securing a successful future. While most of their friends’ kids continued learning in Yeshivas or Seminaries or some sort of college where the majority of their credits came from religious classes, my parents never doubted that their children would go anywhere other than a good, highly ranked, secular school.

I was able to adjust pretty well. I made good friends and enjoyed college. I became very active in the Hillel. I was also starting to notice that my friends from high school were moving in a very different direction than I was. One by one, they were getting engaged, married, and pregnant (and definitely in that order!). Meanwhile, I was studying for finals, thinking about the LSATs and trying to squeeze in another dorm party along the way. There was no room for marriage or babies in my world yet.

I started ranting to my college friends about my former life. They were interested, but not enough to hear about it daily. And so this blog was born. If you read through the posts from beginning to end, you will see that it wasn’t always the “OrthoFeminist” blog. In the beginning, there was no defined purpose or topic. The blog was my personal spewing ground for any and everything I wanted to discuss. As the years went on, I realized that I was posting more and more about two very specific topics–religion and feminism. I began to think of myself as a religious feminist, although I was somewhat weary to adopt the title. I mean, feminist? Are those the crazy women from the 60s that burned their bras and became lesbians? As I started to think and write and read more, however, I realized that I was, without a doubt, a religious Orthodox Jewish Feminist.

Some people may think those terms contradictory. Indeed, I certainly used to think they were. But they are not. I am a feminist because I truly believe in female empowerment to the fullest extent possible. I am Orthodox Jewish because I am commited to living my life based on halacha (Jewish law). Sometimes halacha will be anti-feminist, and that bothers me. But not enough to leave the Orthodox world. Instead, I just blog about it.

Updated on January 10, 2013:

I am now in a stage in my life very different from when I started this blog. I’m still trying to figure things out, but  I am now married to the man of my dreams. Before we were married, we tried to find a balance of our religion, which prohibited all touching before marriage, and our secular values, which seemed to indicate that some amount of touching could enhance a relationship. Over the years, I went from one extreme to the other trying to figure out how to handle these conflicting values, but my now-husband and I came up with an ideal compromise. We would be physical with one another during most of the month, but during the times that I was niddah, we would completely abstain from all forms of touch. This was my experience with Niddah, and I wrote about it in the Niddah Diaries section of this blog. After we got married, we have tried to keep niddah in more stricter accordance with the halacha, and I have written about those struggles, too, in the Niddah Diaries section.

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