Religion: The Silent Sex

Blessed art thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast not made me a woman . . .

­Old Jewish prayer

Women, notably Ruth and Esther, have figured prominently and heroically in Jewish history, but not in the temple or synagogue. The Apostle Paul, a Pharisee, carried the male tradition of Judaism over into Christianity when he wrote: "Women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinated, even as the law says."

In Meridian, Miss, last week, a woman became spiritual leader of the congregation of Temple Beth Israel, the second...

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