No Hope, No Problem: Reflections on Pesach, Time and Paradox. by Ivy Helman

29662350_10155723099993089_8391051315166448776_oIn “Time Telling in Feminist Theory,” Rita Felski suggests that there are four main ways feminists discuss and use time: redemption, regression, repetition and rupture.  They are aptly named as they behave similar to their labels.  Redemption is the linear march of time, hopefully progressing step by step towards a redeemed, or at least better, future even if sometimes things get momentarily worse.  Regression is the want to go back in time or at least return to idyllic and/or imagined pasts: to matriarchy or to a time before patriarchy’s violent arrival.  Repetition is a focus on the cyclical nature of time in bodies, in daily chores, in seasons and so on. Rupture posits a break in time in a way what was before no longer makes sense or doesn’t exist.   Think utopia or dystopia.

While she speaks of them individually, she also acknowledges that no one is bound to one manner of speaking of time and that, in many ways, they overlap and intertwine.  Most feminist theorists use more than one although she asserts that feminism as a whole, “Unlike Marxism or liberalism… does not fold a temporal vision into its very core” (22).  What she means exactly by this is unclear.  Yet, if she means that feminism doesn’t share one unified vision of time or of the future, then I would agree with her.  If she is suggesting that feminism isn’t really all that concerned with time, then I disagree.  Feminism is all about creating a better world for us and for future generations. Continue reading “No Hope, No Problem: Reflections on Pesach, Time and Paradox. by Ivy Helman”

Reflection for the End of the Year by Sara Frykenberg

At my school, a religious institution, we start every faculty meeting with a reflection, meant to inspire us, make us think, help us to connect, etc.  I am admittedly, sometimes very uncomfortable with these reflections. I don’t always like corporate ‘prayer’ because of my  past experiences in an abusive faith. They make me uncomfortable, defensive; even though I understand the value of collective ritual. Challenging me to face these feelings, my department chair asked me to give a reflection for our faculty assembly. So I did so by sharing the way I know how to share (in a collective way) best: in a blog. And here I present these reflections, my blog, with all of you as well. My thoughts about taking the year apart, and putting ourselves back together again at the end of the year:

(Reflection has been edited slightly in terms of length and clarification for presentation to this online audience.)

Faculty Assembly Reflection: Sara Frykenberg, April 2018 Continue reading “Reflection for the End of the Year by Sara Frykenberg”

My Turn: A Femifesto by Marcia Mount Shoop

It’s coming up on a year now that pretty much everything changed in my family’s life. My over twenty years of married life, up until last year around this time, our lives had been built around my husband’s job. John’s work as a coach in the NFL and Division I collegiate football had moved us all over the country—coast to coast and in between.

MMS Headshot 2015This time last year our move was for me to take a job. No more football. And a move not for football meant massive shifts in the daily life of our family.

I cannot count the number of times since I took this new job that people have said to me, “Finally, it’s your turn!” Continue reading “My Turn: A Femifesto by Marcia Mount Shoop”

Shomer Shabbos: Finding Meaning in the Observance of Shabbat by Ivy Helman

20151004_161012One of my first posts on was about ways to re-soul on Shabbat. Since I haven’t yet revisited any topic in the years I’ve been writing for this blog, I thought now is the perfect time and Shabbat is the perfect subject matter. Why is now the perfect time? Why is Shabbat the perfect subject matter? These two questions share the same answer. I’ve been grappling with discovering a meaningful observance in the midst of my new teaching endeavors.

I teach, study and read about Judaism every day of the working week (and often Sundays) for 8 to 10 hours a day (sometimes more). Don’t get me wrong, I love it! I also practice Judaism every day and know there is a difference between the two. However, while I hesitate to admit it, the last thing I want to do on Shabbat is immerse in Jewish prayer, song and feasting. Why? Because in so many ways, my study and preparation for class brings me closer to my identity, helps me strengthen my faith and commits me more to its observance. However, when it comes to Shabbat, traditional observance feels like work and does not re-soul me the way it should. Continue reading “Shomer Shabbos: Finding Meaning in the Observance of Shabbat by Ivy Helman”

Cultural conditions and Spiritual Subtleties by Oxana Poberejnaia

oxanaI am very grateful to Carol P. Christ and other contributors for their insightful comments and thoughtful questions to my post “Blindness of the Gals”. As I promised to Carol, here is my post that starts answering some of the issues raised in the comments.

I cannot say that it was giving birth to my daughter that first made me question my blindness to patriarchy in religion and culture. Rather, it was a gradual process of educating myself by reading works by feminist thinkers, and learning about the brave women and men who have been fighting and are still fighting for women’s rights.

Continue reading “Cultural conditions and Spiritual Subtleties by Oxana Poberejnaia”

Getting Tenure, Part I: It Took a Village by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

 “[T]he many sacrifices made for my career have not been borne by me alone….Here are some of the ‘villagers’ to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.”

On December 1, 2011, the full professors at Claremont School of Theology unanimously recommended two of my colleagues and me for tenure. Provided that the Board of Trustees approves their recommendation and two extremes never come to pass (either “financial exigency” compels my institution to start laying off people willy-nilly or I do something professionally or morally egregious enough to be dismissed “for cause”), I now have a job for life! :)  Continue reading “Getting Tenure, Part I: It Took a Village by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

Why (I) Work? The Difference Between A House Wife and Being Unemployed By Sara Frykenberg

The following is a guest post written by Sara Frykenberg, Ph.D., independent scholar and graduate of theWomen Studies in Religion program at Claremont Graduate University.

Ever since I graduated I have been keenly aware of the fact that am no longer a student who is “not working right now,” but am in fact, unemployed.  I do not have a job and have accumulated countless hours, applications and my fair share of rejection letters to attest to this fact.  However, something else has changed in my life this year: I also became a wife and gained a husband… and in between my job searches, while I am cleaning the house, planning meals and working on a GARDEN (which is thriving by the way, despite my previous occupation as a serial plant-killer), I’ve found myself considering, “Am I unemployed or am I a housewife?”

I ask myself this question, as I water the money tree next to my desk: a graduation gift from a friend.  *Am I imagining things or did it slightly quiver when I thought about getting an (outside) job* 

Planti-cide aside, the more I have considered this question, the more of a spiritual issue and a feminist issue its has become for me.  How do I find a balance between my sincere belief that the choice to be a homemaker is a beautiful one, and the feelings of shame or worthlessness I sometimes struggle with because I have not found a “real job.”  I find myself listing all of the things I have accomplished in the house each day to my husband when he gets home, as though I have to justify my existence or earn the grocery money I no longer have in my own bank account. Continue reading “Why (I) Work? The Difference Between A House Wife and Being Unemployed By Sara Frykenberg”

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