For Jews, Parenthood Is More Than a Lifestyle Choice

June 16 2021

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 Is Courting Saudi Arabia by Confronting Iran

Most likely, it was the Israeli Air Force that attacked eastern Syria Monday night, apparently destroying a convoy carrying Iranian weapons. Yoav Limor comments:

Israel reportedly carried out 32 attacks in Syria in 2022, and since early 2023 it has already struck 25 times in the country—at the very least. . . . The Iranian-Israeli clash stands out in the wake of the dramatic events in the region, chiefly among them is the effort to strike a normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and later on with various other Muslim-Sunni states. Iran is trying to torpedo this process and has even publicly warned Saudi Arabia not to “gamble on a losing horse” because Israel’s demise is near. Riyadh is unlikely to heed that demand, for its own reasons.

Despite the thaw in relations between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic—including the exchange of ambassadors—the Saudis remain very suspicious of the Iranians. A strategic manifestation of that is that Riyadh is trying to forge a defense pact with the U.S.; a tactical manifestation took place this week when Saudi soccer players refused to play a match in Iran because of a bust of the former Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Suleimani, [a master terrorist whose militias have wreaked havoc throughout the Middle East, including within Saudi borders].

Of course, Israel is trying to bring Saudi Arabia into its orbit and to create a strong common front against Iran. The attack in Syria is ostensibly unrelated to the normalization process and is meant to prevent the terrorists on Israel’s northern border from laying their hands on sophisticated arms, but it nevertheless serves as a clear reminder for Riyadh that it must not scale back its fight against the constant danger posed by Iran.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, Syria