Jewish Perspectives on Good Government, Democracy, and Women

“Who knows if it is for this very moment that you got to this place of power.”

וּמִי יוֹדֵעַ אִם לְעֵת כָּזֹאת הִגַּעַתְּ לַמַּלְכוּת

Esther 4:14

With heated elections taking place in both Israel and the United States, as well as the rise of nationalist movements in Europe, we turn to tradition to provide some guidance.  We might be surprised to discover how much Torah wisdom is relevant today, despite the fact that the Bible seems to imagine a monarchy. 

This ICJW Social Justice study series investigates Jewish traditions about government from four perspectives:

Unit I: Queen Salome Alexandra: A Model for Good Government
A look at Queen Salome Alexandra, 76-67 BCE, and the importance of good governance, checks and balances.

Unit 2: Explores Jewish traditions of representative democracy in general and women’s suffrage in particular.

Unit 3: Examines the question of female leadership.  Given the precedents of female leaders in ancient history, why is there a halakhic question about women holding office? How can those concerns be answered?

Unit 4: Israel as a Jewish and Democratic State.  While some on both ends of the spectrum like to set up an opposition between Jewish and Democratic, they can also be seen as complementary.