Editor’s Note: Each year, WITS/MAALOT, a seminary offering a full Judaic curriculum along with a complete secular education leading to a Bachelor’s degree, presents a seminar called “Women in the Workplace: Opportunities and Challenges.” The seminar is part of the school’s ongoing mission of preparing young women for a life of Torah, even as they leave the sheltered halls of learning to participate in today’s world of work. How can they bridge the contrasts between the two worlds and maintain their standards while interacting with a diverse population? The following article is excerpted from the remarks of Dr. Janet Sunness at the seventh annual seminar.
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About 25 years ago, when I was on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, I saw an important rav for his macular degeneration. The rav later commented to one of my friends what a kiddush Hashem (sanctification of Hashem’s name) it was to have a religious woman in my position. I appreciated his comment, but my response to it reflected the very nature of today’s topic. I thought, “But in a million years, he wouldn’t want his daughter in this position,” and I think this was true. So a role in the workplace is an opportunity to make a great kiddush Hashem. At the same time there are challenges that must be faced.