Thursday, July 16, 2009

And Tonight is Ladies Night!

This post is dedicated (wow!) to my friends E & D who Mrs. LFD & I have had the pleasure of having them as guests at our house. E & D are sisters, one of whom I met one summer while she was doing a summer school stint for the NYCDOE. E is an occupational therapist. When I see another orthodox Jew at my school, I always invite them over for a Shabbos meal, and E told me her sister would come over with her the first time. A good friendship was established through cholent, chicken soup, and rotisserie chicken (yes they have come for evening & day meals).
Anyway, E & D are interesting, and well versed. If I was to be forced to categorize them, they would be a little left of center, which brings me to my next point (this is a rambling kind of post). I find that there are two kinds of Orthodox Jews when it comes to learning about Judaism. The first is the kind of person who learns from shall we say, the Artscroll versions of what frum Judaism is all about. These kind of people by their nature, (and I feel I’m one of them some of the time) will move to the right of center. The other kinds end up more like Lion of Zion, who is, in my opinion is extremely well versed, as well as demonstrates a better understanding of early and modern Jewish history. Most right wingers that I know don’t. Now me, I do like to question, and find out. There are some who read and learn and “tow the party line”. I hope that I’m enough of an individual that I can pendulum around left and right to see all points of view. Back to E & D. E told me that she’d had an interesting experience davening at a Ladies Minyan in Flatbush. That she went was kind of cool, in my opinion, although I have to admint it made me uncomfortable. Why? I’m not sure. I don’t know how I’d feel if Mrs. LFD went to a Ladies Minyan. Is it halachically acceptable? From what I have learned, it is. It just is not what I’m used to. Maybe that’s how a BT feels when they learn a new halachah. I don’t know. Last time E & D ate over, E told me she was going to go to the minyan again, and she would guest post. I don’t know if she did yet, but this reminded me:
Well E, if you went, you owe me a post! And when are you coming over again? Hope it’s soon! And you could always bring some Stella Doro cookies.


Gilmour said...

I think a "Ladies Minyan" is fine and dandy - as long as they are behind the mechitza and there are men in the front of the shul to run things properly al pi halachah...the women need to have someone to serve the kiddush to, after all! I Guess I haven't been here long enough to change my Flatbush (which I hate again) ways. Save some cholent for us!

Saul said...

Do you mean a Women's Tefila Group? WTG push the envelope (many would say, are beyond the pale). A Ladies Minyan is beyond the pale. Within halacha there is no such thing as a minyan that has women in it.

Lion of Zion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lion of Zion said...

the "grass is always greener . . ." applies to intellectual pursuits as well

saul is correct about the distinction between a tefilah group and a minyan. i don't think in the tefillah groups they say דברים שבקושה. iirc, the big מחלוקת, as far as those who support the tefillah groups are concerned, is what to do with ברכות התורה

but what's the big deal about women's tefillah groups? aside from a few things (i.e., the problem with ברכות התורה?), what are they doing that isn't going on in every bais yaakov? don't 3rd grade girls daven together as a group?

on my trip to israel last year i accidentally ended up in a very unusual minyan as far as women's participation goes. i ended up leaving in the middle. aside from halakhic issues that came up in the middle, it was just too weird. even for me.

Lakewood Falling Down said...

Gilmour- As long as the cholent comes out hot.
Saul- E said it was a "Minyan", and that she got called up to make Birchas HaTorah. Truthfully,I don't know the halachic parameters, but I myself find it weird. The "minyan" excludes men, for I guess lots of reasons. I know a woman can say kaddesh for a releative if needed. I think that those women who feel the need to be on the side of the mechitzah where everything goes on don't realize how much they don't have to contend with, such as finding a good b'al tefillah, tzedakah collectors, appeals, bidding on yom tov, and kiddish clubs. I would go to an all womens kiddush club though...
Lion, it must have been really weird.

Saul said...

Lion, a guy who can show up to a Chasidishe shteible in sandals & a shirt can find something too weird ? :)

Yes, the birchas Hatorah & leining are real issues. Another one is should a women forgo the dvarim she bekidusha (borechu, kaddish & kedusha) at a regular minyan to daven at a WTG.

Saul said...

assuming that it is a WTG, she is doing herself & women a huge disservice by calling it a minyan. WTG is considered fringe. Women's minyan is conservative or reform.

gr8twins 1 & 2 said...

M, you're pushing the envelope. This update is for you.

Last Friday Night, I Davened at a "Partnership Minyan": Women lead Kabalat Shabbat and men lead Maariv. The room was divided by a Mechitzah. The lady who led Kabalat Shabbat, stood behind the mechitzah, not at the Amud, it was modest, inclusive and beautiful.

As for the WTG = women tefilah groups, we women daven together, read the torah, which include aliyot, (Birchat Hatorah is said then, some skip saying during bircat hashachar) and like your friend "The Lion of Zion" wrote, we are davenning in a group.

"I" think that within the boundries of Orthodox Judiasm there is a place for women, to voice their spiritual need to be a part of tefilah.

Lakewood Falling Down said...

E-Thank you for clarifying. I hope I didn’t misunderstand or misrepresent what you told us, and I’m glad it was a good experience. I really wanted to hear more about it!

Lakewood Falling Down said...

E-also, I didn't realize it was a split experience. From the way it sounded, it sounded like the men were excluded. How do you work the kol isha thing when the women daven Kabalas Shabbos? Is it kol isha if you can't see the girl? I don't know enough to know the answer.

Saul said...

Is there a partnership minyan in Brooklyn? I know a few are in Manhattan.

AIUI, Kol Isha does not apply to tefilah.

gr8twins 1 & 2 said...

Yes there's a partnership minyan in Brooklyn, it takes place once a month. (next should be August 7th) Last week Friday night there were 15 women and 9 men -1 boy. Two of the men who frequent the minyan were out of town. They found a Yeshivish man off the street to complete the minyan. We had finished Kabalat Shabat. I'm sure later that night, our Yeshivish minyan helper had something to share with his family.

Lion of Zion said...


even i have my limits


"How do you work the kol isha thing when the women daven Kabalas Shabbos?"

the same way you work it for women singing zemirot or saying kaddish. kol isha is not an issue when the שכינה is present

as far as aliyot goes, the only classic (i.e., in the gemara) objection to women getting aliyot is that it violates כבוד הצבור (of course people who accept women's aliyot argue that כבוד הצבור has been redefined)

for something interesting, see what the hagahot maimoniyot says about what to do for aliyot in a community of only kohanim. (iirc, its he is brought down in the shulhan aruckh, but the view is rejected. nonetheless, it's interesting because it gives you an idea of how tiny many of the communities in ashkenaz were. i.e., a community of only kohanim meant the community was composed of only 2 or 3 interrelated familes of kohanim)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

LFD: Going back 2500 years, women used to "lein" and get aliyot (within the framework of a general minyan...back then when an aliya laTorah included leining as well, not just birkot haTorah)

The gemara states that eventually women stopped getting aliyot because of "Kavod Hatzibbur". The gemara doesn't list "kol isha" as an issue at all.

And as to what "Kavod Hatzibur" means...perhaps the women could lein better than men?

I agree with Saul though -- there is no such thing as women's "minyan", rather a WTG.