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.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Sources Journal

More about: Children, Family, Hebrew Bible, Judaism

 

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy