Gateshead Jewish Boarding School, not far from the famous Gateshead Yeshiva in the dreary north-east of England, are trying to sell me their 2009 diary. Actually, they are offering two options: the Time Management Desk Diary and the Jewish Woman’s Desk Diary.
While the Time Management Diary is a typical appointment book, the Jewish Women’s Diary is in a league of its own, offering me wise sayings from the Sages, household tips, a calendar to help me work out barmitzvah dates and times for davenning – however, daf yomi (the daily page of Talmud it is customary to study) is missing because that would only feature in a man’s diary.
I’d be interested to know if there were any consultations with women in the community about what they would find useful in a diary. Perhaps some words of inspiration from some very influential and significant women? What about a list of ‘gemachim’ in the area so that women would know where to borrow essential items? As many of these women with large families work outside the home in order to support their husbands who are learning full time, perhaps some practical tips for juggling the work-home balance would be useful.
Of course, the real question is whether we need a women’s diary, and noch, a Jewish women’s diary at all.
Would you buy a diary that instructs you to start clearning for Pesach just after Chanukah? I don’t think so.