(sigh) As usual, it's been a very long time since I posted. Well, I thought I'd mention an event I went to last night:http://www.tbiwarrington.org/html/events.html
I'm very glad that I went, though the benefit of it to me was more peripheral than direct. If I had read the stated words on paper (as opposed to being there in person) it would have been worthless to me as a learning experience. But luckily, it was not worthless because there's a lot of communication that falls in between words.
I'm also sitting here in a slight state of distress over the fact that asked a question that was apparently upsetting to the audience. I had already felt a severe sense of being an outsider, and it didn't help when people *audibly gasped* at my question!
Luckily, it was an anonymous written note that I sent up. And in my defense, the guy who read it changed the wording slightly and (I think) made it sound a lot different.
OK - what was the question?
Well, the rabbi mentioned the Bible passage from Exodus 21:22-23:
"If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman's husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life."
i.e. a guy who causes a miscarriage has to pay a fine to the woman's husband. If he kills the woman, though, that's considered murder. This, apparently, is God's extremely obscure way of telling us that abortion is A-OK.
Luckily, I'm not beholden to the Bible, so I can call "bullshit". The passage itself has misogynistic overtones. And if you read all of Exodus and Leviticus (which I DID, a long time ago in 4th grade), there are some unbelievably nasty anti-woman "laws" in there along with the apparent "abortion OK".
ANYWAY... he also mentioned that babies who die before their first 30 days after birth are not given the traditional mourning ritual, because they are not considered really a life yet.
My question was something quite similar to this:
"In the laws about fines for miscarriages, did anyone consider for a second how the *woman* felt about the miscarriage? Also, are Jewish women allowed to mourn their miscarriages?"
Now, of course, I didn't assume that anyone can really be "allowed" or "disallowed" to mourn something. And the way the guy phrased it when he read my question was something like "Do Jews mourn their miscarriages?", and I would not have chosen that wording myself.
My second "lucky" thing is that I told everyone I talked to that I was UU, so there's a good chance they don't suspect it was me who asked that question! Although, who WOULD it be - I was the only non-member there, other than the panelists themselves, one "support" person for the pro-life panelist and a reporter. Maybe they'll think it was the "support" person...yeah...
By the way, one of the worst mistakes my very nice Presbyterian church made was to give me my very own Bible in 3rd grade, at least if you assume their goal was for me to stay a nice unquestioning Christian (FTR, it probably wasn't). Why? Because I actually read the thing, that's why. Every single "begat" and miserable law. It played an important role in my questioning of religion, that's for sure... :o)