Hi Hollydove. as for Judaism being too Patriarchal, well, it is that...Patriarchal. I'm not so sure I'd say it is too much so, tho. Actually, it's only the Orthodox who cling to the separation of men and women and they are a distinct minority these days. I've been affiliated with Conservative Judaism for some time...considered myself Orthodox for a while, but just couldn't remain there for many reasons, the separation of genders was only one of them. I've found many scholars in Conservative Judaism who are every bit as knowledgeble as anyone in Orthodoxy. Historically, Judaism has always encouraged and respected dissent. The Talmud is filled with differing interpretations of Jewish law and each is respected.
As for Kaballah, well, that's another matter all together. There are very good reasons why the secrets are kept secret. While I may choose to learn "about" Kaballah, I really wouldn't want the responsibility of being a Kaballist. I would NOT want the responsibility of knowing those "secrets". It's like knowledge of nuclear weapons. I know they are extremely powerful and I know some basic principles behind what makes them work, but I would NOT want to know/understand the physics behind them. In my opinion, and that of many with knowledge of the true Kaballah, it is far too dangerous to go playing with the "secrets" of Kaballah. As much as I adore Leonard, and respect his knowledge, he is no Kaballist. His knowledge is more scattered...universal...than what is necessary to be a Kaballist. Kaballah is a fairly narrow path of study and personally, I believe the stories of people going insane trying to learn its secrets. Some things are better left unknown.
You mentioned being raised Jewish but taking up a study of the Eastern spiritual paths. There is an online group you may want to check out. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jewitchery/
It's for VERY UNorthodox Jews,
I've been a member for several years. Read the description and check it out. We've had some very interesting discussions and as long as everyone's beliefs are respected, all views are welcome.
I'll see my Rabbi tomorrow and see if I can locate more info on that book I mentioned.