You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share
Blog:
Jewesses with Attitude

A Woman's Place is at Prayer

Orignally published in the Forward online May 28th, 2013

Nearly 20 years ago I was living on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a haven for observant Conservative Jews. I had my choice of multiple minyanim to attend; even the crowded weekend city streets had an air of the Sabbath, and kosher food abounded.

There were so many Conservative and egalitarian options that I rarely ventured into the neighborhood’s Orthodox community, and I certainly never attended an Orthodox synagogue.

One year, during the holidays, a friend asked if I would come with her to a Simchat Torah minyan in someone’s home. Two brothers had lost their mother on Simchat Torah a few years back and couldn’t take the craziness of synagogue on what was to them a somewhat somber day, so they invited a bunch of their friends from Yale University to a minyan in their apartment.

It had become an annual tradition that had grown over the years, and for some reason, my friend had been invited and wanted me to come with her. It was an Orthodox minyan, but this year they had decided, for the first time, to have a special women’s Torah reading, and we thought it would be a good idea to be supportive.

Women of the Wall Prayer Service in Gan Miriam, Jerusalem
Full image
The Israeli multi-denominational Women of the Wall group holds a prayer service in Gan Miriam, Jerusalem. Participants in Orthodox women's tefillah groups wishing to maximize women’s participation in communal prayer while remaining within the halakhic parameters of the Orthodox community meet regularly to conduct prayer services for women only.
Courtesy of Joan Roth.

How to cite this page

Bieler, Leah . "A Woman's Place is at Prayer." 30 May 2013. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 24, 2016) <http://jwa.org/blog/womans-place-is-at-prayer>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Poll

Which topics pique your interest on the JWA blog?

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Twitter

5 hr
RT : a pic of my baby in her awesome jwa tshirt to brighten your day :) https://t.co/NqNgNsU2jy
21 hr
Esther Jungreis, an icon of the Jewish community in the US and Israel, passed away on Tuesday evening at age 80 https://t.co/RxVP19zeG3
1 day
Karmit Feintuch will be the first female communal leader in a synagogue in https://t.co/pQocDZsbJ3