From author Elana Maryles Sztokman over at The Jewish Week:
Yom Kippur asks us to forgive, but this a challenge for me because I think forgiving can be much harder than asking for forgiveness — especially if we are expected to forgive without having our pain acknowledged. Women are often expected to just let it all go, to accept the hurtful and abusive practices of the community without their pain ever properly acknowledged and validated. We are sometimes told that our outcry is too provocative, or that it threatens the “unity” of the congregation, or that women’s assertiveness makes people uncomfortable. So many people prefer a self-effacing woman to a woman who values her own dignity. Women’s outcries are too odd, too destabilizing, too unfamiliar, too confronting. So women are sent back to their silent corners behind their curtains, and silently search within their hearts for the ability to forgive.
And so, I will stand before my Creator, along with all the women of Israel, and try to forgive the sins against women. I will ask God to forgive the abusers even though the abusers have not asked me for forgiveness. And I will continue to pray for a better world, in which women are truly valued as equals.
May the year 5775 be a year in which we all feel and appreciate one another’s pain, and we all open our hearts with empathy and compassion.
Read the full piece here.