AMSTERDAM (Apr. 19)
Deborah, a new women’s group aimed at increasing the participation of women in Jewish communal affairs, was launched here just before the Passover holidays by members of the Netherlands Ashkenazic Congregation. Reportedly, it has already attracted a substantial number of members.
The organization is open to all Jewish women, whether or not members of the congregation. Its stated purpose is to increase their Jewish awareness. But it is also urging a larger representation of women in official community bodies. Despite the shortage of qualified male candidates, Netherlands rabbis still tend to bar women from serving on the councils and executive committees of the Ashkenazic and Sephardic congregations. The result is the alienation of many women from Jewish activities, a situation that Deborah intends to correct.
The new group has a counterpart affiliated with the much smaller Liberal Congregation which has maintained international contacts for a number of years through the World Union for Progressive Judaism.