You Shall Pursue

December 12, 2012

On Gender Gaps in the Jewish Community

Filed under: Jewish Communitty, Social Justice — marleyweiner @ 1:54 am

I just read this post in the Forward about a new survey released of salaries for 75 Jewish nonprofit organizations nationwide. The results as they pertain to female leadership and compensation are troubling.

For all that we as Jews tout our history of progressivism, it appears that we lag behind the rest of the country in this measure of commitment to social justice. I am most troubled, both personally and politically, about the gender gap in compensation for rabbis. The field that I am about to go into is becoming rapidly feminized; my incoming class is 70% female. It troubles me to see the hard work of female rabbis valued less than that of their male peers, because I know that it will have very real-world consequences for myself and the members of my graduating class.

I have been privileged to be mentored by brilliant rabbinical students and rabbis of all genders, but I especially appreciate mentorship from female clergy, because they face unique challenges as women in leadership positions that I will also face one day (God willing!) The women I know in Jewish communal service are brilliant, and capable, and work their asses off. I simply cannot fathom how the Jewish community, given the high percentage of women running its education programs, leading its services, raising its money, and building its communities, cannot value the tremendous asset that it has in its women.

We as Jews must do better, and stand up for recognizing and rewarding talent whoever we find it, no matter what package it comes in.

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