Another small step was taken this past Shabbat to strip away some of the superficial and unnecessary discriminatory practices in Jewish ritual that exclude and ignore women. Uri, a good friend and colleague of mine, started Birkat HaMazon at Friday night dinner in a way I’d never heard before: “Gveirotai v’Rabotai Nevarech” (ladies and gentleman, let’s bless).
For too long, the standard language (Rabotai Nevarech) has pretty much ignored the women in the room. If the call is for everyone in the room to start saying grace, why wouldn’t everyone be invited?
I cannot think of any halachik basis for someone to argue against this change, and hopefully it was be tiny little baby step in the right direction.
I want to praise Uri for taking this (somewhat) bold step. We must now work diligently to spread it to Jewish communities around the world.
What other simple changes could be made to current Orthodox Jewish practice that would make it more open and accepting, without shaking the boat too much to be accepted?