For Jews, Parenthood Is More Than a Lifestyle Choice

After some writers have condemned the study of Jewish fertility and continuity as inherently demeaning to women, the scholar Mijal Bitton responded that such arguments not only ignore the fact that several important students of Jewish demographics are women, but also insult the choice of so many women to have children and families. Sarah Rindner contends that this argument concedes too much:

[R]educing such a core Jewish (and human) value as procreation to a matter of choice and agency is insufficient. While this intellectual move may solve a certain surface-level dilemma as far as squaring feminism with motherhood, it fails to account for the crucial place that childbearing and parenting has, for millennia, occupied in Jewish belief and practice, and the deep human potential that is unlocked when we bring new life into the world. Childbearing is the very first commandment Adam and Eve receive in Genesis. It forms a fundamental part of the blessings and responsibility entrusted to Abraham, whose very name derives from the Hebrew word meaning father, and it is the source of anxiety and promise throughout the Bible as a whole.

Reducing Jewish continuity to a matter of a parent’s choice also marginalizes the outcomes of these choices: children themselves.

In delineating the various people and parties who could conceivably be offended by a Jewish continuity agenda, Bitton [thus] leaves out the most important population of all: the future humans upon whom the entirety of civilization rests. It’s true that having children is physically and emotionally taxing, and undoubtedly the burdens are unequally distributed between sexes, at least for discrete periods in a child’s life. Some of these challenges can certainly be remedied; others are on a certain level inherent.

Far from just one just choice among many equally valid options, Jewish pro-natalism is a cornerstone of our belief system. Without Jewish children we would evaporate into ether, along with the groundbreaking and world-changing ideas we stand for.

Read more at Sources Journal

More about: Children, Family, Hebrew Bible, Judaism

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security