DC Jewish World Weighs In On “Having It All”

Princeton professor and former Director of Policy Planning at the US State Department, Anne-Marie Slaughter, has made virtual waves with her recent article, published in the DC-based Atlantic Magazine and entitled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” Needless to say, the article made the rounds in the young professional Jewish community, judging by recent Facebook feeds. Moreover, some prominent DC Jews (to be fair, not all them young professionals) have decided to contribute to the conversation.

DC-area columnist Jeffrey Goldberg, a well-known member of Adas Israel, pondered about the work-life balance — for both women and men — in an online article for Bloomberg. In this piece, he also followed up with Slaughter, asking how she felt about the way her piece had been received and exploring the way in which her article ties into one of her pet policy issues — trying to make the advancement of women’s issues more prominent in US foreign policy.

Coming from a different angle, Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld wrote a Huffington Post piece on changing women’s roles in Orthodox Judaism, specifically citing his congregation, Ohev Shalom, as an example. ” (Rabbi Herzfeld frequently writes on issues of women in Jewish Orthodoxy. For more information on this, see here.) He describes the distinction between progressive and egalitarian practice, as manifested in his synagogue:

“From a traditional Orthodox perspective our synagogue is relatively progressive as it relates to women’s direct spiritual involvement in the synagogue in areas traditionally reserved for men. [...] With all that, we do not have an egalitarian prayer service because we are an Orthodox synagogue. Being an Orthodox synagogue means that we embrace halakhah, Jewish law, for we believe it must be a guidepost to our lives. This guidepost can be strict, and sometimes we may not understand its ways. But we submit ourselves to the tradition and to the law.”

Want us to cite other DC Jews who are weighing in on this issue? Write to noa@gatherthejews.com.