Blu Greenberg can point to the exact moment she became an activist for Orthodoxy and feminism.
“In 1973, the first National Jewish Women’s Conference,” she said. “It had an impact on many people, including myself. I was involved in feminism and Orthodoxy nominally. The day after I became an activist and pursued it all these years.”
Greenberg will be in Minneapolis this weekend. Friday she’s speaking at a Minneapolis Jewish Federation/National Council of Jewish Women Minnesota Women Repair The World lunch and learn called “After 40 years of Orthodox Feminism, there are still captive wives?” On Saturday and Sunday, she will be the scholar-in-residence at Darchei Noam.
“I say I’ve been on a very long journey but I’ve never left home,” she said. “I still identify as an Orthodox Jew, but women’s status in opportunity, ritual, learning, is all very different. But the area that hasn’t changed significantly is the issue of women and divorce. That’s the area that keeps me working hard.”
Greenberg is the founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance and travels around the country – although less often than she used to. She is currently active in the work of the International Beit Din, a court dedicated to resolving difficult agunaa cases through the application of systemic, halakhic solutions. On the issue of divorce, which she is speaking about on Friday, she said that there have been setbacks that have been disheartening.
“We’re dealing a case now where the rabbis found a creative solution get a woman out a marriage, and yet the Beit Din is being criticized for it.,” she said. “On the other hand, the Beit Din freed women that waited a total of more than 400 years.
“The cup is more than half-full in a lot of areas. In many things in many areas, Orthodoxy has been open to women’s sense of self. There are amazing opportunities for women learning that we should all appreciate,” she said. “It’s all the more disappointing that this injustice remains. Some people say ‘leave the community.’ We love being Orthodox. We don’t want to destroy something beautiful. I want to repair the injustice.”