Founded by Abraham and Moses, Judaism is almost 3,500 years old and is based on the Jewish people's covenant relationship with God. In the traditional Judaism belief, women are viewed as separate but equal to their male counterparts. In other words, although within the religion, women live under heavier restrictions regarding their responsibilities and obligations, their roles are just as important as those of the men. Over the last 30 years, however, Judaism is experiencing a revolution that is lifting some of the restrictions placed on its women. This paper will discuss how women are viewed in Jewish societies-from the biblical times through the present day-and how these roles have made their evolution. .
Judaism is guided by the Bible's Old Testament, which is referred to as the Hebrew Bible. Within the Hebrew Bible, God is described in both masculine and feminine terms, which is supported by the Book of Genesis, the book that represents the beginning of man. In Genesis 1:27, the book states "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Scholars performing analysis on this scripture have theorized that God created man with dual gender. In other words, Adam-the first man created by God-was formed with what is traditionally identified as male and female characteristics. It is not until Genesis 2:22 that God uses one of Adam's ribs to create Eve-the first woman formed by God. Thus, man and woman became separate individuals with their own individual traits. Because God created man in his (or her) own image, it is reasonable to believe that God is both male and female. As previously mentioned, within Judaism, women are considered separate but equal to their male counterparts. Therefore, because Eve was created from a part of Adam and-like Adam-was created in the image of God, women are separate from men but just as equally important.