January 20, 2019

Will Israel Embrace Non-Gendered Hebrew?

“Not long ago in Israel, Rabbi Arie Hasit led memorial prayers and study at a service for a transgender Jew. Among those gathered were many members of the LGBTQ community, some of whom identified as gender nonbinary — neither male nor female. While the American-born Conservative rabbi is generally not at a loss for words in his fluent Hebrew, this time he was.

“It would have been helpful to have had nonbinary language, to make sure I was inclusive of everybody there,” said Hasit, who resorted to switching off between the masculine and feminine.

This grammatical lacuna in Hebrew, a strictly gender binary language, has come up from time to time for Hasit, who was ordained by the Masorti (Conservative) movement and is the rabbi of an egalitarian congregation in the central Israeli town of Mazkeret Batya. A longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, Hasit said he would embrace creative changes to make Hebrew more welcoming to all.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"