Needed: The Study of the Niddah -- By: Ginger O’Neil

Journal: Priscilla Papers
Volume: PP 20:3 (Summer 2006)
Article: Needed: The Study of the Niddah
Author: Ginger O’Neil

Needed: The Study of the Niddah

Ginger O’Neil

GINGER O’NEIL’S poem, “Luke 11:27’s Blessed Ones,” appeared in the Spring 2006 issue of Priscilla Papers. In addition to poetry, Ginger writes short stories and Christian romances. Her novel, entitled A Touching Performance, was published, and then republished in a collection entitled “New York,” by Barbour Books Publishing Company.
Ginger and her husband lived for many years in suburban Washington, D.C., but moved to Texas to live closer to three of their six children and their families.

Lake Fairfax Park in northern Virginia, with its tantalizing water slides and charming boat rides, attracts thousands of visitors every year—young and old alike, singly, in twosomes, or in larger planned community outings. On a beastly torrid summer day, I went there with my family. Hundreds of folks pranced and splashed about in bathing suits. Being no exception to the norm, we were all in swimsuits, too.

Peripheral to the mainstream of swimmers were a few women in traditional Middle East garb, heavily scarfed, with one woman allowing only her eyes to show above and beneath the veiling of a black robe known as a chador or burka. Around her, little girls of her party scampered in lightweight play clothes, the breeze tossing their unveiled hair in the sunlight. I shuddered, thinking these little ones might well have “chadored” futures if they eventually go to live in strict Muslim communities.

Because there are so many women in the Washington area observing traditional Middle East rules of dress, most Virginians take little notice of these women any longer. But I do. Their mode of dress disturbs me. It symbolizes a patriarchal culture that allows by law and/or by religion greater freedom for males than for females.

Although I am well aware that many of these women may be deliriously happy with their circumstances, I have read enough to be disturbed by the subjugation of women in many countries where fundamentalists have instigated virtual enslavement of women. Enslaved women desperately need the emancipating message of Jesus that flows loudly and clearly from the New Testament gospels—a message appropriate to their situation, because Jesus lived his life addressing and opposing similar injustices of gender disparity in every encounter he had with women.

Unlike the woman in Proverbs 31 who seemed to have free access to the marketplace, Jewish scholars indicate that the women Jesus encountered had no such access. Due to the influence wielded by the venerable Hillel, scholar and president of the Sanhedrin (circa 30 b.c. to circa a.d....

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