Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Women's Tefilla Group

At work I sometimes have to make conflict of interest statements, so here is one for this post: The author is married to a woman who was threatened with cherem for her participation in a Woman's Tefilla Group.

Now that that is out of the way, I will make this short. The benefits of WTG are that women get to daven, and learn, feel close to HKBH, there is no problem with kol isha, or mechitza. They do not say barchu, chazarat hashatz, or kaddish The women I know who attend are learned, dedicated, and serious, and they are not there out of some sort of "feminist agenda" or egalitarian aspirations. They actually feel they can daven better, learn better in that environment.

The cons, basically are the prohibitions of imitating non-Jews, imitating heterodox practices, and, most commonly cited, innovating, and dressing up and not going to be part of a minyan(incomplete mitzvah).

The main arguement seems to be the incomplete mitzva issue, that women are passing up the greater mitzvah of t'filla b'tzibbur, and settling for what is t'filla b'yachid. There are a number of halachic issues with this opinion, but the bottom line is this: If those authorities are so concerned with women attending t'filla b'tzibbur, I expect swift and certain exception taken to Rabbi Nissim Karelitz and Rabbi Michel Lefkowitz for telling women to leave shul at aleinu, and miss davening shir hakavod and at least one more kaddish b'tzibbur. QED

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