By Rabbi David Rosenn, October 2013
My wife and I signed up for the requisite natural birthing classes when we were about to have our first child, and it made me curious about my own mother's experience giving birth. "Are you kidding?" she said to me. "I was out cold during the whole thing. That's just how they did it back then." It shocked me to find out that the medical establishment treated women this way just a few decades ago – as passive actors in one of the most significant moments of their lives, knocked out so things would be easier for the (male) doctors. A lot has changed since then. Thank God, women are active full participants is modern life and in many aspects of modern Jewish religious life. The 25-year struggle of Women at the Wall stands out as a powerful, determined rejection of the idea that women can or should be knocked out from participating in life's most significant moments. Here's to the inspiring exa mple they provide to all of us – men and women, religious and secular – of the importance of (in the words of one of the Rev. Martin Luther King's great speeches) "remaining awake during a great revolution".
Rabbi David Rosenn is the Chief Operating Officer at the New Israel Fund.