Q. Do you agree that what leads some women to want a larger role in Judaism is merely a type of copy-cat feminism?
A. No, I don’t think so. It is because this is the best-educated generation of women in human and Jewish history. If a woman gives a shi’ur it is not because she wants to make a feminist statement but because women are giving public lectures, lessons and speeches every day of the week. If a woman gives a hesped (eulogy) at a funeral or in the house of mourning it is not because she is a feminist but because she has insights and articulateness.
If a woman makes motzi at the table after her husband has made Kiddush it is because men and women are partners in Jewish observance. If she wants to recite one of the sheva b’rachot at a wedding reception it is because both men and women are obligated to bring joy to a simchah.
While some of these examples may be halachically controversial, some men feel threatened by women’s presence and participation at religious events. I say Baruch HaShem that we have such an opportunity. Some critics say it is all a gimmick and want the women to go back to the kitchen and hide behind the mechitzah; I say we should be proud that it is a new era. Enjoy your anti-women polemics while you can; the women will have the last laugh.