Women’s Wisdom: Women in Action – March, 2017

Women’s Leadership: Spirituality and the 21st Century
Faith Traditions, Equality, and Social Justice


Two very diverse women, Rabbi Stacy Friedman and Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts, leaders in their respective faith traditions, inspired attendees at the Sufi Women Organization’s luncheon in San Rafael on March 12, 2017.  They each presented a powerful talk about their experiences involving women’s leadership.

Amineh Pryor, a member of SWO, welcomed the audience and spoke about the ongoing global and local humanitarian works of SWO and its founder, Dr. Nahid Angha. The attendees then enjoyed lunch and conversation with one another.

Dr. Nahid Angha, Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts, and Rabbi Stacy Friedman

Rabbi Stacy Friedman, Congregation Rodef Sholom’s Senior Rabbi, sees Judaism as a rich tradition, which can inspire its followers to lift each human being and see within them the divine spark. Rabbi Friedman spoke about significant women in the Old Testament. She focused on how they each in their own way worked for the rights of women and all human beings. Two of her examples were Esther, Queen of Persia, and Sarah, mother of Isaac, wife of Abraham. Rabbi Friedman also introduced to us her mother who attended the luncheon. She told us how her mother inspired her and her sisters to be strong women.

Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts was ordained as Zen priest in 1975. Abbess Eijun Linda told us the Buddha said that there was no difference between men and women according to the core teachings; however, in the many lands of Buddhism, cultural differences have led to inequalities between men and women. She told us amazing stories. One story was about Buddha’s stepmother, Pajapati, the first Buddhist nun. Pajapati’s name means, “leader of a great assembly.” Abbess Eijun Linda told us another story about Bodhisattva and Kuan Yin. In China, Bodhisattva is represented in female form and is known as Kuan Yin, sometimes shown with many heads, hands and eyes on the palms of each hand which represents how with your eyes and hands, you can help others and how with your compassion, you can bring peace and tranquility in the world.

Following these two truly inspirational presentations, Rabbi Stacy Friedman and Abbess Eijun Linda Cutts answered questions from the audience and spoke with attendees.

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