With all its noble roots, democracy didn’t always include women. Slaves too…
Surprising as it may seem, the intimate connection between the mind and the body was not well understood until the closing decades of the last century. In the early 1970’s, for example, a scientific research paper published in Scientific American was one of the first studies to scientifically investigate this connection. That particular paper studied what happened in the body when the mind was in a meditative state. The paper found that as the mind settled down with a specific, effective practice of meditation, the body gained a profoundly deep state of rest. Respiration settled significantly. Stress hormones in the blood were reduced. Skin resistance increased (an indicator of increased physiological relaxation). The paper was a landmark work in the scientific recognition of the mind/body connection.
Also in the 1970’s we were all becoming familiar with the concept of stress. Stress had been with us for a long time of course, but through the work of scientists such as Hans Selye stress was becoming a defined process. Hans Selye, an endocrinologist, became widely recognized as an expert in the field of stress management. Selye defined stress as the body’s nonspecific response to a demand placed on it. For example, if we are home alone and a strange noise is heard in another room, our heart rate may increase and probably our blood pressure too, adrenaline shoots up and our senses become heightened. These physiological changes are the result of what scientists call the fight or flight response. Such ancient mechanisms in the human physiology are meant to prepare one to either ‘fight’ in a challenging situation (e.g. the tiger in the path before us) or to remove oneself from danger. While these mechanisms may be useful in a specific challenge, occurring in the physiology on a sustained basis they can create the basis for a myriad of health problems.
Understanding stress and the close connection between mind and body spawned another level of discovery about health and disease in terms of psychosomatic disorders. Psychosomatic disorders result from the influence that the mind has over physical processes. A psychosomatic disorder is one in which a physical disease is thought to be caused, or made worse, by mental factors. Such physical diseases—including skin disorders, cardiovascular problems, respiratory disorders, and disturbances of the nervous system including multiple sclerosis—can be particularly aggravated by mental factors such as stress and anxiety.
Women are particularly susceptible to stress. Their lives are challenged by special stressors. Women often care for others much more than they care for themselves. They may push themselves hard in the juggling of professional and personal lives. Stress in women is also often caused by the constant array of hormonal changes occurring in the female physiology. It is important for women to understand how to maintain balance: how to nurture the connection between mind and body, and to avoid the accumulation of stress that can break this vital connection. To prevent the onset of psychosomatic disorders and to avoid the deleterious effects of stress, women can only gain by fostering a healthy mind/body connection.
The Forward newspaper has published a list of 33 rabbis nominated by lay people, who have had a great influence in their Jewish life. The authors state: Thanks to hundreds of nominations by our readers, we’ve identified 33 of the most inspiring men and women from North America, who are defining and redefining what it means to be a rabbi in the 21st century. To read more about the individual rabbis go to: http://forward.com/specials/americas-most-inspiring-rabbis-2015/#ixzz3gMYDVLd7
In reading these stories, I am struck by the way the modern rabbinate continues to successfully dedicate itself to the traditional qualities of religious and moral leadership. These stories proclaim the power of personal connection through; Jewish study, social action or simple acts of kindness to create more Jewish Jews.
To me as a rabbi who was ordained in 1964, several years before the Hebrew Union Collage ordained the first female rabbi, it was satisfying to see that female rabbi make up 40% of the 33 rabbis; and thus make up a more than half of the non-Orthodox rabbis on the list.
Just think how much better off the Jewish People would be if there were an equal percentage of female rabbis among the various Orthodox groups in North America.
Rabbi Maller’s web site is rabbimaller.com
Special to Earthpages.org
Vatican assembly on women’s equality in Rome from February 4-7 despite big fanfare seemed like a joke as there was no discussion proposed on women priesthood, Rajan Zed said in Nevada (USA) today.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, pointed out that the outline document of this “equality” assembly clearly stated that “There is no discussion here of women priests, which according to statistics is not something that women want,” without mentioning the source of such “statistics”. But this document irrelevantly and strongly denounced plastic surgery, quoting it as “burqa made of flesh”.
Zed further said that Holy See being the largest religious organization in the world with about 1.2 billion adherents should show exemplary leadership in women equality to the rest of the planet by ordaining women priests.
When Church of England could consecrate a female bishop (January 26) overturning centuries of tradition, why can’t Roman Catholic Church ordain women? Zed asked.
Zed stressed that women could disseminate God’s message as skillfully as men and deserved equal and full participation and access in religion. What was the relevance of such assemblies on “equality” when the Church’s Cannon Law 1024 clearly said—Only a baptized man validly receives sacred ordination.
Zed urged His Holiness Pope Francis to introduce some “real equality” by reconsidering favorably the ordination of women priests. As women were equal partners in the society, they should be equal partners in Church also, Zed added. He urged Vatican to be more kind to Roman Catholic women as exclusion of women from some religious services, just because they were female, was very unfair and ungodly.
Quoting Hindu scriptures, Rajan Zed says: Where women are honored, there the gods are pleased. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God and religions should respect that, Zed notes and adds that time has now come for the women priests and bishops.
Zed suggested that theologians and canonists of the Church needed to address women ordination issue urgently; re-evaluate Church doctrine, theology, male hierarchy and history; and give women a chance. Women should be ordained to priesthood and should perform the same functions as male priests. Treating women as not equal to men was clearly a case of discrimination promoting gender inequality.
Even the image illustrating this Vatican “equality” assembly was disturbing, which showed a naked woman without head-arms-legs in bondage bound with rope, which seemed some kind of erotic fantasy. Vatican should display more maturity, seriousness and responsibility towards women, Rajan Zed indicated.