Thursday, September 1, 2011

The cake is a lie! & The 'Barrier Method'

In other words, I didn't get the post done last night like I was planning. Please try to control your shock. :D

Has anyone else switched their dashboard over to the 'new' version? It reminds me of the WordPress dashboard. I haven't used it enough to say whether I like it or not. Change is life...

I've been reading the backposts on the blog of a woman who converted/is converting (I haven't finished the blog, so I don't know if she's actually finished the conversion process or not!) to Orthodox Judaism. And there was a post about the barrier (mechitzah) used in Orthodox and some Conservative synagogues, according to her. (I've never been in a synagogue, so I can't speak to it's use from personal experience.) Her experience was that having the separation between men and women did two things. It helped focus her attention on God, where it should be in worship, and it enabled her to meet the members of the synagogue as individuals rather than as family groups. She felt that this last enabled her to know the other members of the congregation better than if she had met them all as family units.

Have any of you regularly attended a place where there's a similar separation between the genders? Do you find that it has any benefits?

I've only been to a place that had the genders separated for worship twice. Once was at the Serbian Orthodox church and that was just; women on one side of the room, men on the other side. The other was at the local mosque. I didn't find either experience particularly extra conducive to focus on worship, but then again I was only at each place once and was more interested in observing the people around me than worshiping!


  1. Wait, there is a new dashboard? *checks and switches* SHINY NEWNESS! YAY! I like it. It's sort of...cleaner. Not all bubbly. Like I can take it more seriously. Yeah, I'm shallow. :D

    I think it's a good idea for education, especially in elementary and middle school, to be divided by gender. Or at least, I think there should be that option or it should be done for part of the day, with some classes or times where they're brought together. I know not all members of a gender learn and discuss in the same way, but it's not just a stereotype, either. There are some differences that are generally true, and there have been studies showing that both groups perform better in single-gender classrooms. I've never actually been in a classroom divided this way, but I know I'm more than familiar with the mixed-gender classroom, where I'm constantly being run over by very talkative and pushy guys who don't know they're shutting people out. I've never attended worship services with a separation either, but I'd assume there is a similar benefit there.

  2. No, I've not switched over, but maybe I'll check it out now that I know it's there! :)

    Ah, your blog title was misleading. *ahem* Well, I've never attended a segregated worship service that I recall, but it's interesting to read what that lady had to say about it. Let us know if she does indeed convert. :)

    always good to read random bits of Amberness like this! Hope you are doing well!

  3. Yes! I'm really liking the new dashboard actually. It makes me feel grownup too, so you're not alone!

    Really? I haven't heard about that, the whole gender segregation in schools idea. I don't pay that much attention to that area because it doesn't impact me, so that's probably why. Hmmm...I can see it maybe being less distracting for many of the kids. But couldn't the same problem you have with guys happen with girls? There're plenty of pushy girls. I'm going to have to pay attention next time I'm in a class (January) and see if women and men act differently in my classes. Project!

  4. Susanne,

    It's nice! Once of the things I'm enjoying is that it shows how many views each post has. It's fun seeing the difference between people reading each post and people commenting on it.

    *laughs* But it fits! Though I guess if you don't know what the line 'the cake is a lie' is from it's out of context and makes no sense at all...:D

    She's in the process of converting. But apparently Jewish conversion can take years. So she will, eventually, convert. She's determined. It's just a question of getting through the process. And I think she's still in the middle of it. At least, her profile on the page hasn't been changed to say that the process is complete.

  5. It could happen with girls, but it tends not to happen as often. I have no idea why, but most guys who do this seem to have no idea they're monopolizing the conversation. They'll start talking every time the professor takes a breath, and leave no space for other people to talk without interrupting them. Pretty soon you've got like 5 guys all interrupting and talking over each other, and an aggressive girl or two doing the same to make sure they're heard as well. From what I've read and heard, girls tend to either match the guys to get noticed or shrink into the background. In girl-only classrooms, more of the girls participate and in a less pushy manner.

    ...My mom is an elementary school principal. I may have heard a little too much about this topic. But then, it was also my senior thesis in undergrad. Well, not that specifically, but learning differences in men and women. Mine focused on visual aids. My experiment completely failed (skewed sample), but I got to read a lot of fun previous research and got it drilled into my head a lot.

  6. My theory for why it happens more with guys than with girls: For the most part guys, growing up, are encouraged and rewarded for being assertive and 'masculine'. Girls are not. They're taught to be more quiet and ladylike. Even today.

    Very interesting. My interest in school extends only to *me*! And I never paid that much attention to who was pushy as divided along gender lines.

  7. I went to a Christian school and we had about 18 girls and only 8 guys in my graduating class. (The ratio was similar throughout high school.) I must say that in MY class, the girls tended to dominate most of the discussion. I'm thinking back to the dynamics of that class and the girls were more assertive and the guys rather quiet. I don't know how it was for other classes. My dad actually taught our Accounting class my senior year and he later told me how assertive the girls were in my class so maybe we were just an anomaly. :)

  8. Susanne,

    You? Unusually assertive? I am shocked! *Shocked*! :p

    Like I said, it's 'for the most part'. There are always going to be exceptions, and I'm glad there was a whole class of them. There need to be more. :)

  9. As for Susanne's example, I think girls become more assertive when they're in the (vast) majority.

    As we spoke about on FB, it hasn't been my general experience that girl's are more outspoken than guys - I tend to be the exception.

    And yes, Amber, that title was VERY misleading!

    As for the new dashboard, it is not working for me, I get the dashboard, but when I try to go to any of the subcategories, the page won't load, so I shifted it back.

    Also, Susanne, you could see the views for each post on the old stats as well :P

    Erm, erm, what was the topic? I KNOW this is not what I came to comment on!

    Oh yes, segregations in a religious setting. Well, the sufi meetings I used to attend were separated during the worship, the separation was just a curtain.

    I found it easy to focus, but I think that had less to do with the separation, and more to do with the light being dimmed, and people sitting comfortably on the floor on pillows.

    After the zhikr part men and women (and children) mingled and talked freely.

  10. I absolutely figured it out though. Girls retain their manners better! That's why it seems like the guys run roughshod over us.

    *snort* I don't know what you're talking about. I thought my title was very clear....

    Huh. The new dashboard's been working well for you use some weird browser or something?

    No, no, that was me. Not Susanne. But on the new dashboard the stats are right there when you're looking at the list of posts. You don't have to go to a different screen.

    Maybe the Muslims at our mosque are just antisocial? They didn't hang around to talk afterward and there was definitely no mingling. Or it could have something to do with prayers being in the middle of the work day...

    Eh. Like I said, I didn't get anything out of the separation, but I was too busy being nosy to try and concentrate on worship!

  11. I'm sick. That's going to be my excuse for how badly my brain is functioning tonight :P

    I'm using Google Chrome. So if that doesn't work I don't know what will.... ;) I'll try it again later I think, maybe it was just a momentary issue.

    Well, this Sufi congregation did have several converts also, and I think were generally more welcoming and accepting of all people.

    You didn't even have to be Muslim to become a member.

  12. Oh no! I hope you feel better soon!

    Huh. I use Firefox and have no problem with the new dashboard.

    *And* they were Sufi. Which seem to be a different breed of Muslim altogether. So that could be a factor too. They're the more mystical branch, right?

  13. Yes, I'll totally just answer 2 weeks later :P yeah they're the more mystical branch :)


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