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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