Toward an Ultra-Orthodox Feminist Theology

In Circle, Arrow, Spiral: Exploring Gender in Judaism, Miriam Kosman lays out a theological explanation of the traditional understanding of different roles for men and women, and a rationale for halakhic discrimination between the sexes. Sarah Rindner writes in her review:

The book draws on Jewish sources, particularly kabbalistic ones, as well as second-wave feminist theory, postmodern thought, [and] contemporary psychology and sociology, and offers a sweeping theory of gender as it manifests itself in Judaism. For Kosman, the traditional Jewish conception of male and female roles is not a challenge to be overcome; rather, it represents a sophisticated and delicate framework for enabling the “female force” to manifest itself within individual relationships and within history more broadly.

Obscuring the difference between men and women in the service of egalitarianism or other contemporary trends actually may have a counterproductive effect as it could, according to Kosman, serve to silence the feminine voice. . . . Kosman’s . . . book is critical reading for anyone who is invested in the Jewish intellectual tradition and uncomfortable with facile dismissals of its wisdom when it comes to gender in the modern world.

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Read more at Book of Books

More about: Feminism, Halakhah, Kabbalah, Religion & Holidays, Sexism, Ultra-Orthodox

 

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela