now we touch a lot of issues which are highly misunderstood.
tumah 's translation us “unclean” goes totally against the point. The Bible knows physical tumah - has nothing to do with being clean or not - lots of ways to get tumah - death, menstruation, birth, semen, …, and you have to clean yourself in a mikveh with/without animal sacrifices. It is not a concept against women, it applies to all priests, men, everybody.
Not touching is not related to tumah - as you are not allowed to touch a pregnant woman either (you are assumed to be “clean” during pregnancy). It has to do with modesty.
And if I look at the history of the sex abuse scandal in the US, I must say these laws make sense, don’t be in a room along with someone who is not your relative - abuse can happen. Always have at lest 2 or more people around you. You can hide a lot of sexual things behind a handshake. you may laugh but I experience how men misuse these little things to get close if you understand what I mean.
Honestly I like sitting separated from men nobody to disturb you during praying. I like my balcony - the best view of all. That was never an issue. I don’t know about your background, but older catholics tell me, in old days, women down, men on balcony - no mixed seating either.
these are blessings - and orthodox Jews honor tradiiton, nobody will ever delete these verses out of an orthodox prayer book but the teaching about them will change. You ask from an orthodox perspective, then you compare reform etc, that’s inconsistent. If you want an orthodox answer, you cannot compare if with reform wich changes everything if it comes “pleasant”.
These are blessings - there are lot of them in the morning, and I doubt most Jews pay much attention to them, you are through them in 2min. I would not consider them as a prayer in the more deeper sense like psalms and the amidah, shma.
The rabbi’s instituted them - and why in the negative there is discussion about this, some old prayer books have the blessing, thanks for not making me an animal. It’s a form of gratitude.
And to compare religions: Islam sends all non-muslims to tell and till 40 years ago, the catholics did the same to non-catholics. Every religion considers itself to be the best and most enlightened. And you cannot compare it - Judaism is one of the view religions which doesn’t encourage conversion or considers it necessary - the righteous non-Jew has a nice place in the coming world.
Not every Christian Group teaches that about non-Christians, etc. Mohammed might consider Jews/Christians Bible of the Book but nowadays it looks they are not much better than idol worshipers.
Today I see a lot of sense in a lot of the “feminine” issues, separated seating - fun - no guys starring at you, no touching, no tricks possible. It has something to do with dignity. That’s how I feel.
If one isn’t used to them, they might look like “restrictions” if you live them, you would see, they are only for the best.
Doesn’t mean, men don’t misuse them.
But all traditions restrict women’s role in public and the catholic church has their own feminine issues which the pope closed but which is still going on - women’s role in church, priesthood, role as mother etc…
I could say, thanks God I am not a man - it’s not about thinking man are bad, it is about being grateful in the position God put you in.
But if you have already your “reform” answers, why ask after an orthodox position?