Women, Eldercare, and the Honor Commandment

Amy Ziettlow, Naomi Cahn, M. Christian Green, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs (Blog), Georgetown University, 9/8/2014

In the Biblical story of Ruth, the burden of honoring and caring for Naomi falls to Ruth, her daughter-in-law. Naomi's husband and sons have died, but Ruth promises, "where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your friends will be my friends and your God will be my God."Thousands of years later, women continue to be the primary caretakers for the elders in their family, be they mothers, father, in-laws, or stepparents. In fact, recent research shows that while men are assuming more responsibilities for child care, there remains a huge disparity in time spent in elder care.[1] In our work exploring modern expressions of the Honor Commandment – the Biblical command to honor one's mother and father – we heard many stories of how daughters (and sons) honor their parents.

Subjects: Death/dying, Family


Institute for American Values, 420 Lexington Avenue, Room 300, New York, NY 10170-0399