A Man’s Respon­si­bil­i­ty: A Jew­ish Guide to Being a Son, a Part­ner in Mar­riage, a Father and a Com­mu­ni­ty Leader

Rab­bi Joseph Meszler
  • Review
By – January 9, 2012
Believe it or not, in the year 2009, there are Jew­ish men who feel alien­at­ed and who are hav­ing a prob­lem feel­ing com­fort­able in estab­lish­ment Judaism. What was once the prob­lem of Jew­ish women has crossed over and become a prob­lem for Jew­ish men. 

These two books approach the same top­ic and come to the same con­clu­sion. Men must work towards feel­ing com­fort­able with­in their reli­gion, in this case, with­in Reform Judaism. 

Accord­ing to the sub­text, both of the these of both these works, the Jew­ish world has become top­sy turvy as a result of years of trans­form­ing Reform Judaism into an all and every­thing, an equal and egal­i­tar­i­an, form of reli­gion. While there were plen­ty of places for women to meet as women and a move­ment for every­thing to be egal­i­tar­i­an, there was no orga­nized place and no envi­ron­ment and no room for a man to open up and share with oth­er men the way women could. As a result the pro­fes­sion­al and lay lead­ers of the Reform move­ment became more and more female and less and less male. 

The path toward male shar­ing and group con­science rais­ing that led to the writ­ing of A Man’s Respon­si­bil­i­ty began because of a per­son­al cri­sis. But the cri­sis was resolved from with­in the com­mu­ni­ty. A sup­port group of men cre­at­ed an out­let for them­selves that ulti­mate­ly helped the author find his Jew­ish way and his own Jew­ish response to the crisis. 

A Still Small Voice is an anthol­o­gy of male, Jew­ish voic­es. The con­trib­u­tors are men strug­gling with Jew­ish, male ques­tions. The most pow­er­ful and most insight­ful entries are the per­son­al sto­ries, the sto­ries that guide through example. 

These are telling and impor­tant works. Indi­vid­u­al­ly and col­lec­tive­ly these books demon­strate that some­times, when you become too egal­i­tar­i­an, one of the par­ties is slight­ed. In this case it is the Jew­ish man.

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Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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