The More Things Change...
One evening, as I sat in a graduate rabbinic literature course, the professor departed from his explication of the text at hand to comment on an article that had appeared that morning on the front page of the New York Times about the Conservative Movement’s decision to count women in a minyan. “This Jew,” he said, in a tone not quite free of derision, “gets up in the morning. His five children start to get up, and all at once the house is in an uproar. Now he sets off to the synagogue for the early morning minyan. By the time he gets home, his wife has the children washed, dressed, fed, and off to school. The house is quiet again and he sits down to a peaceful breakfast and an hour of leisurely study. When he comes back in the evening from work, the place is in an uproar again. So he takes his prayer book and his Bible and goes off to the synagogue again. Now I ask you, what’s he going to do if his good wife has to go to the minyan?” This account was greeted by a sustained roar of knowing laughter.
On Women and Judaism: A View from Tradition was published in 1981.
Jerusalem, 2009: A poster encouraging men to attend a particular neighborhood synagogue, and encouraging women to enable their husbands to do so:
My free translation of the last paragraph of the poster from the Hebrew (please excuse the glare):
And you, Madame, have the ability to support your husband [in attending the early morning service at the synagogue]. Take upon yourself the morning tasks (waking the children and getting them ready for school, preparing breakfast and sandwiches, and so on). Your reward from the Almighty will be great if you do this. Amen.
Two things came into my mind when I saw this poster. One was: People know a good deal when they see one. If they can somehow boost that deal with promises of divine approval, all the better.
The second was: The more things change....