Letters Discussion Forums

Kol Isha: far beyond a ‘concession’ to women

  • 2b-Letter7
Sarah Goldstein, who together with her brother Gilad Stern was one of the two original applicants in the Equality Court case against the Cape Council of the SA Jewish Board of Deputies, writes to the community explaining her position on the case. The Board have called a community colloquium next Monday to gauge the feelings of their affiliates and today extended an invitation to the three applicants.
by Sarah Goldstein | Jun 15, 2016
Over the last few months I have come to understand that the issue of Kol Isha is not only about whether a woman can sing at a (communal Jewish) service; it is about the way women are seen. It is about the way women are “handled, managed, and dealt with”.

Women have been asking “nicely” for years now, agreeing, pleasing, compromising, and ultimately not being heard. It has taken a man starting a court action for the Board to wake up and respond.

Kol Isha HOMEThis issue is not about religion or disrespecting rabbis; this is about us, it is about our kids, our girl children, about letting them grow up in a world where a woman is judged by her capabilities and not her gender. It’s about a world where men take responsibility for their urges and do not pass this responsibility on to women, and by doing so deny us the right to equality.

Saying a woman can’t sing because of its potential effect on men is on the same continuum as saying girls shouldn’t wear miniskirts so they don’t get raped and on the same continuum as women being denied the right to drive, get educated, speak their mind, for its possible impact on men around them.

Why would we agree to this? That is what puzzles me the most. It is not like all rabbis stand by this rule, or that it has existed forever. Why would they not let us sing, but for now we can wear pants at the Holocaust memorial service, and not cover our hair? What is it about this particular rule that has got the rabbis and the Board to protest, and what will come next?

The so-called “compromise” idea of allowing women sing with the men, in a mixed choir, is more of the same. Once again, the women are being asked to be pleasing, compromising and allow men to chaperone and manage them.

While I understand that to compromise is the way of the enlightened and the courageous, there is also a time to say to one’s opponent: It’s your turn to compromise, your turn to end this. We have been compromised for 10 years. It’s enough!

Women are equal, equally valuable, equally accountable, equally responsible and make up 50 per cent of the world! Why then should we not be treated this way? More so, why would we agree to anything less?

  • Goldstein, together with her brother Gilad Stern, were the two original applicants in the Cape Town Kol Isha case

1 Comment

  1. 1 Phil 16 Jun
    As I have said on other social media forums, to talk about Judaism as practiced by the Reform - a self sustaining religion with no ties to Judaism is like placing a Mercedes emblem on a Ferrari, and then sustaining the lie till its accepted as the truth.
    The issue of Kol Isha - a Halachic requirement of major proportions, is one such example of Reform attempting to practice something so intrinsically Jewish yet would be more comfortable practising Christianity.
    Please don't waste time publishing their ideology in your newspaper.


  1. RadEditor - HTML WYSIWYG Editor. MS Word-like content editing experience thanks to a rich set of formatting tools, dropdowns, dialogs, system modules and built-in spell-check.
    RadEditor's components - toolbar, content area, modes and modules
    Toolbar's wrapper 
    Content area wrapper
    RadEditor's bottom area: Design, Html and Preview modes, Statistics module and resize handle.
    It contains RadEditor's Modes/views (HTML, Design and Preview), Statistics and Resizer
    Editor Mode buttonsStatistics moduleEditor resizer
    RadEditor's Modules - special tools used to provide extra information such as Tag Inspector, Real Time HTML Viewer, Tag Properties and other.


My Place advert 300px x 300px 110820



Yad Aharon GENERIC2020


Follow us on