The Nature of Ritual
I heard this story this morning- about an exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York:
An exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York looks at some of the many ways people are re-imagining Jewish ritual. From “green energy” synagogues to a prayer shawl that doubles as an apron, many of the works are influenced by environmentalism and feminism.
Here is a blog entry about part of the exhibit by the artist, complete with a photo of the art installation.
Unfortunately the NPR article summary is missing the most interesting part of the exhibit, to my mind.
The article described an video of a woman who dressed up as a man to participate in Orthodox Jewish ceremonies. Women are traditionally forbidden from participating in these ceremonies, although the article mentioned that this is changing.
Bringing it back to the faith I was raised in, I was thinking about what it would be like to dress up as a man and participate in so many of the rituals of the mormon faith. Such a thing would be shocking and scandalous.
A woman, dressed as a man, blessing or passing the sacrament (bread and water) – making sure she got the words to the prayer right. And sounded enough like a teenage boy to not give herself away.
A woman standing in the blessing circle for a new baby, giving the new baby a name and a blessing. Even so simple as a woman staying in the chapel for priesthood meeting instead of leaving for the relief society room. A woman baptizing a child or a convert.
In truth, upon further reflection, there aren’t any rituals in mormonism (the LDS faith) that are performed by women in public; just prayer. The thought certainly gives me pause.