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Gender Roles In The Abrahamic Faiths In The United States

713 words - 3 pages

Gender roles, like all other facets of society, have changed greatly since the Pilgrims landed in 1620. While Christians were the first to practice an Abrahamic religion in what is now the United States, Jews and Muslims quickly followed, and they had to situate themselves within a predominantly Christian societal framework.
In the early 1800s, Charleston, South Carolina, was home to many Jews (Marcus 64), though nowadays there tend to be large Jewish communities in large cities. In 1806, Myer Moses gave an address to the Jewish Orphan Society, a group that helped poor women and their children make ends meet. He specifically addresses women in his speech, meaning that his audience was ...view middle of the document...

That being said, women should be taught. Parents and teachers who are too soft on them make girls proud, vain, and ignorant, among other negative qualities (Marcus 130-131). Girls should be taught from an early age that the things of this world are temporary, and being in the right with God is more important (Marcus 131). Meekness, modesty, and virtuousness are important qualities in women, according to Leeser. Being a religious housewife is far more useful in his eyes than a woman being an artist or a scientist.
A few years later, Nathaniel Levin gave an address to the Society for the Instruction of Jewish Youth. Levin begins by calling women powerful, and then he falls quickly into the rhetoric of delicate, mild, and domestically virtuous (Marcus 153). In other countries, he claims, women are not so fortunate, and their men are misfortunate with them. Women are again an oasis to temper the ruggedness of men (Marcus 153). Levin then argues that women are equal with men by making them more moral and intellectual (154), which he claims are products of their...

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