We’re an equal opportunity religion basher here at Pharyngula, so after ridiculing the Islamic attitude towards female genitals, it’s only fair that we look at the other major Middle Eastern religion, Judaism and its extremists.
And in Jerusalem, they are having a conference on innovations in gynecology — it’s Science! In the 21st Century! Yay!
Except…women will not be allowed to speak at the event. They can attend, but will be segregated into a separate section.It’s being held at the Puah Institute, which is apparently a bastion of Jewish ultra-Orthodoxy.
As far as Puah is concerned, it operates on a strictly kosher basis, as required by the ultra-Orthodox rabbinate. While there are women on its board of directors, its public face is strictly male, and the two sexes are not allowed to mix at its events.
To be sure, not all sectors of the ultra-Orthodox community support these exclusionary tactics, explains Nachman Ben-Yehuda, a Hebrew University sociology professor and author of the recently published book Theocratic Democracy. “But most people are too afraid to speak out.”
Isn’t that typical? Whether it’s Jewish, Muslim, or Christian, the exclusionary extremists all rise to prominence and start imposing their superstitious nonsense on everyone else…while the more numerous moderates tremble and hesitate to speak out against folly, and start looking for compromises. You cannot build a better world when you start by compromising with idiocy.