Just saw this post on Galus, showing the number of female speakers in Melbourne shuls over Shavuot (in most cases, the number was “0″).
I may have a bit too much time on my hands this week, and I did a little survey after I received an email of all the Tikkun Leil Shavuot events happening in Orthodox shules [eds: The Tikkun Leil Shavuot is an evening of Torah learning that is held on the first night of Shavuot].
Each shule is hosting between 3-11 speakers on the night. Below is a list of how many women are speaking at each shule.
St Kilda Shule: 0
South Caulfield: 0
Chabad Malvern: 0
Elsternwick Shule: 0
CBH – Katanga: 0
Chabad Glen Eira: 0
Kew Hebrew Congregation: 0
Chabad on Carlisle: 0
Blake Street: 1
Bnei Akiva: 1
Caulfield Shule: 1
Beit Aharon: 2
Regular readers may know that I have been looking at a lot of material on discrimination recently — mostly to do with racial discrimination, but there is an obvious overlap with gender.
A couple of very important points to note are firstly that discrimination is generally not a conscious decision and secondly that it is generally hard to see in individual cases, but reveals itself when you start looking at the broader picture.
This is a case in point. No doubt, each shul would have a very reasonable explanation for who they invited, but taken as a whole, it is obvious that Melbourne’s shuls are not interested in hearing from women. I would venture a guess that the picture would not look too different in Sydney (or indeed in most Orthodox communities).
This is once again a sign that Orthodox Judaism is a sect by and for men. As I have often maintained, manifest discrimination during the religious service filters into all other aspects of life on some level. This is off-putting even for people like me who are not women.
Yet the rabbis of these shuls are sitting there, staring at thousands of empty seats and wonder what could possibly be keeping their congregation away…