Talk:Partnership minyan

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Possible misconcpetions[edit]

I believe IZAK's May 3 edits have raised a number of misconceptions about Partnership Minyanim. Because of these potential misconceptions, I believe it would be useful both to expand discussion of what these minyanim actually do, and to have a section providing more detail on arguments against them.

I appreciate this thought. The problem is though that this is a WIKIPEDIA, and ENCYCLOPEDIAS, not a forum for the exploration and debate of alternate Jewish practices and there validity under Halacha. The facts should be stated clearly, and annotated as necessary. There should be no politicking, and debate should be minimalized (in the general) to only theories which have mainstream research support. Social debate can be had on soc.culture.jewish on usenet. this is NOT a place to debate Halacha.

In particular, (a) IZAK added a discussion of an Ezrat Nashim in a way that implies there isn't one. But there is. A partnership Minyan has a mechitza and women stay in the women's section at all times. Ensuring this while permitting women to lead certain prayers requires certain liturgical innovations, such as the 2 shtenders (reader's lecturns) and the michitza going right through the middle of the bima (as discussed in Shira Hadasha's website), which ensures that men and women do indeed stay on their respective sides during aliyot. Also, the women's section occupies 50% of the room, but IZAK cites no halachic source limiting it to a particular size. (b) IZAK raises the issue of Kol Isha. Many have this objection, but this actually isn't the most numerically prominent objection. There are many Modern Orthodox rabbis who do not hold the haredi view of Kol Isha, far more than accept Mendel Shapiro's idea that the "dignity of the congregation" can be waived. The more liberal view is that Kol Isha applies under more limited circumstances, and some limit it to the recitation of the Shema which was its original context. Presenting one view of this controversial issue as "normative" (IZAK's words) would be inconsistent with NPOV. --Shirahadasha 16:49, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Regarding edit claiming nonaceptance by "any Orthodox authorities". Mendel Shapiro, Daniel Sperber, etc. have the formal qualifications to be Orthodox authorities. Whether one accepts them as such or not is not for Wikipedia to say. --Shirahadasha 20:31, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Looking for articles and other sources summarizing objections to Partnership Minyanim. Editors are welcome to identify additional halakhic objections as long as they are properly sourced and articles or other sources are placed in the references and links sections. --Shirahadasha 01:54, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Hi Shira: To write a little article that challenges over 2,000 years of Jewish religious practice by citing one or two misquoted sources justifying what is basically a thrust by Feminism, as practiced by Jewish Feminists, to destroy Orthodox Judaism as it's known and practiced is somewhat disingenious on your part don't you think? There is nothing wrong with saying that this is Feminist Judaism akin to Reform Judaism and Conservative Judaism or Humanistic Judaism -- a new way that breaks with the past ways of Orthodoxy -- but to cling to "Orthodox Judaism" in the guise of claiming that this is merely another aspect of Modern Orthodox Judaism seems to be like someone who has already decided that their break with tradition is "right" and all that's needed is to find the "sources" for it ex post facto and if someone says the obvious, that hey, where in heavens name have you ever seen a Yiddishkeit like this in your life?, they are told to "cite sources" which sounds all too much like Christian missionaries who challenge one to "cite sources" that Jesus is not "the messiah" and similarly that a "partnership minyan" is not a minyan! On another point, if women's voices are heard in shull, even with a mechitza, there is still the factor of kol ishah. See Tzeniut#Female singing voice. Your statement about Shapiro and Sperber: "Whether one accepts them as such or not is not for Wikipedia to say" is simply silly because "Wikipedia" is not giving any views of its own. What is happening is that editors familiar with the world of Orthdoxy are writing down, stating, describing and explaining the facts that neither Shapiro nor Sperber are in any way, shape, size or form any kind of known and trusted "authorities" in Jewish law. They may know a lot about the subject and they may be rabbis and whatever other titles they may hold, but no-one in the Orthdox world knows them to be or regards them as persons qualified or relied upon to make make momentous decisions for the entire Jewish people (which is essentialy what this article is advocating for) -- a Feminist revolution that will end no-one knows where -- probably no different to other such well-meaning attempts to alter traditional Judaism as was tried by the Sadducees, the Sabbatians, and the Reform movement, all of which eventually revealed their historical failures to "save" the self-same Judaism they sought to "help" with their innovations. IZAK 07:55, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Some points[edit]

While I'm not sure I agree with IZAK's forceful tone above and comparisons with the Tzedukim and Baytusim, I agree that Shirahadasha is editing to promote the POV that such a minyan is indeed halakhically valid. The two "rabbinic authorities" take controversial positions while having, shall we say, limited acceptance in the general rabbinate. IZAK is correct in pointing out that being a great lamdan does not a posek make.

Obviously there are big problems. If women read keriat ha-Torah, the trop is zemer and there is an immediate problem of kol isha. Most poskim hold by the Rosh and Shulkhan Arukh that kol isha is assur at all times, not just during keriat Shema. Suddenly deciding that you're going to pick Hai Gaon's shitta is highly innovative, contrary to precedent and minhag, and probably divisive.

Most Haredim (and indeed many Modern Orthodox) are somewhat weary of innovation for the sake of accomodating political correctness. The Chatam Sofer said "hadash assur min ha-Torah" (a play on words) - innovation is in contradiction with the Torah. If people need to radically modernise halakha to promote adherence, how much is halakha worth? Can we not also change some kashrut laws to some obscure Rishon whose opinion is not codified?

Obviously Shira Hadasha is a fairly small community, and no prominent spokespeople have yet denounced its aims. That does not mean that we in Wikipedia cannot say "these views are not shared by the majority of the poskim" - which is easily verifiable. Because by default today's halakhic authorities will not approve of the Shapiro/Sperber innovations. JFW | T@lk 11:38, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

It's important to keep in mind that the article describes a phenonemon, not a viewpoint or opinon. The phenomenon exists and can be described independently of ones opinons about e.g. its halakhic propriety. The WP requirement here is that the main section of the article be a simple description of the phenomenon based solely on objective fact -- what the phenomenon is experientially and how its proponents describe it -- without regard to any opinion of its validity, favorable or unfavorable. Opinions as to matters of validity need to go into the objections section. My intent is for the objections sections to fairly present the halakhic problems involved. Statements such as "there is no known source in Jewish law for such a practice" are definitely statements of opinion and, moreover, are unsourced opinions. Sourced opinions only, please. --Shirahadasha 05:43, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

I've attempted to summarize what I understand to be the gist of JFW's principle objection, a "simultaneous positions" issue: any one decision can be lenient or go in the "right" direction, but when a large number do so simultaneously it casts doubt on the integrity of the process. Can someone please source this objection? Has someone published this specific objection? My interest is to describe and source objections published by figures in the Orthodox world, not simply personal objections of WP editors individually. --Shirahadasha 06:29, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Shira: Wikipedia editors are being 100% accurate when they convey the fact that Orthodoxy has never condoned the kind of things that the Feminist minyan aspires to accomplish, what "sources" does that need? It's a fact, as much as that English is the spoken and written language of almost all of America's Jews -- would that need a "source" too since, perhaps, Russian and Israeli Jews may not know it and thus doubt it? The sources you ask for do exist and more will be presented. But, in the meantime, do you mean to say that 99.99% of Orthodox synagogues are not in "sync" with the "sources" dredged up by the new-fangled "Orthodox Feminists"? You mean that for two thousand years, since the destruction of the Temple, the manner of worship has been incorrect because now the Jewish Feminists have learned a new trick of asking for sources? It is clearly abusing Jewish Torah and rabbinical "texts" here by presenting them as merely a sort of relativistic "grand debate" when all one needs to do is take a survey of the halachah lema'aseh (practical application/s of Jewish law) of all the Orthodox shulls and see what has been done for 2,000 years. Why court harsh responses?: Such as: "kol b'isha erva -- A woman's voice is lewd/distracting" (Berachot 24a) and the Jewish sages expound that Hakol she bisha erva -- that EVERYTHING (in Hebrew hakol -- sounds the same as kol and not just her "voice" -- kol) about a woman is "lewdness" (meaning having a highly sexual quality as far as a male is concerned) and thus a woman should neither sing nor appear anywhere in an Orthodox synagogue because it's a pathway to connecting with her sexuality, which is not an "agenda" for a synagogue, needless to say. While these matters have been obvious to (almost) everyone in Orthodoxy for hundreds of years (the Reform movement long ago broke away and created it's own hip version of Judaism in the same manner, citing "sources"), now come along the Jewish ("Orthodox") Feminists and tell it is not so, that there are "sources" that say that ladies should sing and prance around, even lead the congregation, in Orthodox synagogues and that it's ok to call it "Orthodox". Yeah right! Is there really a need to enter into such an ugly debate and open up some very strong words that the sages use in this area? What would be gained by it? What the Jewish Feminist scholars are doing is basically being megalah panim beTorah shelo Kehalachah, not unlike the rationales given by other earlier renegade movements that broke with Orthodoxy. Why do they want to cling to the word "Orthodox"? IZAK 08:52, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
The request for sources for objections is based solely on WP policies. WP requires article content to come from external sources rather than unsourced personal knowledge or opinion. This request shouldn't be construed as part of or affecting any sort of debate or discussion of the underlying issues. My intention is solely to ensure that views are properly sourced. --Shirahadasha 13:38, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
As an FYI, I don't think the argument against certain of your positions is as weak as you may think. New Jewish customs have come into existence continually; Chasidic Judaism introduced quite a few. The streimal is only about 200 years old. Nor is a narrow view of kol isha such an innovation. As the Ben Cherney article points out, German Jewry had a long-established custom of a narrow view of kol isha regarding e.g. zemirot, which gained wide acceptance in the Modern community. And nobody is suggesting that traditional practice is wrong. For example, the Shapiro article, which suggests that a congregation may waive its dignity, takes great pains to clarify that it is in no way required to do so. It might be useful to read the specific arguments and respond to them in a more specific and measured fashion. My point is not to change your opinion; you may well continue to regard the views involved as minority and dubious. --Shirahadasha 13:38, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Are you seriously comparing Hasidic Judaism (a movement that sought to revert to a more stringent form of observance) to a Feminist minyan which has more in common with the thrusts of Reform Judaism in its desire to be more liberal? Is a "shtreimel" anything like a lady "cantilating" in shull? If one thinks so, that would indeed be poor thinking and an example of failed logic and clearly a gross distortion of Jewish history (more precisely, the history of Orthodox Judaism). Sure, what German Jewry did around its Shabbat-meal tables in the privacy of the homes of its good Jews was fine, it was not based on modern Feminism (which is the touted axiomatic banner of the new Feminist minyanim), but please note, that what the German Jews did was done only in the privacy of individual homes (and who knows what happened in all the homes?). One cannot axtrapolate from what is done in private Jewish homes to make it into the basis of a "policy" (read: "a new "halakha") to transform any known synagogue services (again, this is poor logic and falls into the mistake of equating "apples with oranges"), which would require the involvement and intervention of Halakhic minds and accepted authorities far, far greater than the point-of-fact very minor individuals you cite, and there are certainly none of this caliber to be relied upon today (even among Haredim), a point which you conveniently overlook. The arguments are a waste of time as they are based on erroneous understandings of Jewish law and the Torah world in its entirety and display a poor application of simple logic. IZAK 05:53, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Regarding your view that the Jewish sages expound that Hakol she bisha erva -- that EVERYTHING (in Hebrew hakol -- sounds the same as kol and not just her "voice" -- kol) about a woman is "lewdness" (meaning having a highly sexual quality as far as a male is concerned) and thus a woman should neither sing nor appear anywhere in an Orthodox synagogue because it's a pathway to connecting with her sexuality, which is not an "agenda" for a synagogue, needless to say. -- I think it safe to say that I regard this as an extreme view, since it seems to suggest that a woman shouldn't be in a synagogue at all, even with a mechitza. And I would certainly regard this view as a hashkafic, not a halakhic, view, and far from universal. Are there any Jewish communities in the world today where woman remain silent and only rarely leave the home? And how in the world do you explain e.g. female prophetesses, female nazirites, women's obligation to appear in Jerusalem for the korban pesach, the korbanot for childbirth, etc.? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shirahadasha (talkcontribs)

Hi, you have not signed your comments with the four tildes ~~~~ so it's hard to know who is repsonding. Note, it is not "my view" that I expressed, but the point is that Torah Judaism, today known as Orthodox Judaism, has never been as liberal as you mention. No-one suggests that women shouldn't be in an Orthodox synagogue, they may choose to do so if they so desire, but there has never been any attempt to organize services around or for them. Jewish women are fully allowed to be in the Ezrat nashim ("ladies section") preferably built on an upper floor as a gallery obscured or covered from the men's side, which is literally their domain as it was in the Jewish Temples (upon which a synagogue is modeled) and no-one is saying that women do not have other important leadership roles. Obviously there is a time and place for everything -- but not at the expense of the age old adhered-to principle of kol kevudah bat melech penimah ("the entire glory of the king's daughter is internal/within" -- i.e. "behind closed doors"). Another answer is that because Jewish women are patur ("exempt") from mitzvos aseh she'hazman grama ("time-bound commandments") -- except those that carry a punishment of karet ("heavenly excision/excommunication") -- which is not the case with both kriat sh'ma ("reciting the Shma Yisrael") and tefila, particularly tefila betzibur ("praying with the congregation"), which are purely only encumbent on Jewish men since women are not required to pray three times a day on weekdays nor to pray the shemonei esreis of Shabbat (unless they voluntarily wish do so, an option not given to men). Thus since Jewish women are not obligated to have to recite the detailed shemoneh esreis, it would thus be correct to say that there is no real need, and certainly no commandment for women to attend synagogue on a religious (i.e. regular) basis if at all, so this entire project to have women as part of a "minyan" is not just moot but also probably a huge waste of time (brocha levatalah) and perhaps even a chilul Hashem ("desecration of God's name") if pushed in a manner closer to a "Feminist jihad" than to any known tradition of synagogue service in the long history of Orthodox Judaism. IZAK 05:30, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Wow, a 182-word sentence. Well done. :-D SlimVirgin (talk) 05:40, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Sure Slim: No problem! IZAK 06:01, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

Let's begin with the idea that women requesting to participate in non-obligatory public worship is some sort of new phenomenon lacking any precedent. Here's a counterexample.

"It was asked: "Speak to the children of Israel and he shall lay" [his hand on the offering Lev.1:2-4] -- the sons of Israel lay their hands, but the daughters do not? R. Jose and R. Simeon say: The daughters of Israel may lay their hands, although they are not required to. R. Jose said: Abba Eliezar told me the following: Once we had a calf to be offered as a shelamim sacrifice and we brought it to the women's court and women laid their hands on it. Not because laying of hands applies to women, but to allow the women to feel pleased." (Talmud Hagigah 16b)

As the example illustrates, women have been desiring to participate in non-obligatory public worship since at least the days of the Beit HaMikdash. The response suggests that the Rabbis, while not radical feminists, also didn't regard these sorts of requests as being either a complete waste of time or a chillel Hashem. It is perhaps not so unorthodox to suggest considering the general attitude with which the Rabbis responded to women's requests in the days of real bulls, as having perhaps some relevance to our attitude, if not any specific ruling, in how we think about women's requests to participate in matters of "the offering of our lips" that substitutes for them (Hosea 14:3). --Shirahadasha 06:25, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Shira: So let me ask you, are you now taking it upon yourself, with the aid of the Jewish Feminist Alliance and the two unknown rabbis they cited to undo what no-one else in 2,000 years seems to think needs "fixing" in Orthodox synagogues? Now back to your citation/s from the Talmud: "R. Jose and R. Simeon say: The daughters of Israel may lay their hands, although they are not required to" and "Not because laying of hands applies to women, but to allow the women to feel pleased." Can't you read the very words you cite? that they "may" lay their hands but that "they are not required to" and that it's "Not" because it applied to them, but only to make them "feel pleased" -- all words that prove that there is absolutely NO obligation for them to be involved with the shelamim sacrifices but that these are only activities of a PURELY VOLUNTARY nature, meant more to appease and assuage female emotions than anything else. How could this be a "proof" for having new Halakhic "guidelines" yet, in a synagogue, when all it talks about is what some women "may" do, in fact "not required" to do, but just to to make them "feel pleased"? (It would be a failure of logic and a gross misunderstanding of what the Talmudic rabbis meant, if one imagines that they are giving a "green light" to Feminist minyans two thousand years hence!) The example from the Talmud reveals the rabbis' grasp of female psychology and is certainly no basis for any new "rulings" to change the order of the day as it has stood for 2,000 years, in any Orthodox synagogue. IZAK 06:46, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
But, nonetheless, they were neither wasting their time, nor performing a chilul hashem, nor fundamentally tampering with anything. The question here is not one of specific rulings, it is one of general attitude. That's all the example is about. The halakhic issues of course depend on their individual merits. --Shirahadasha 06:56, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Shira: To say "halakhic issues of course depend on their individual merits" is to reveal a far too casual and wishy-washy notion of what Halacha truly is. The Feminist minyans are proposing a serious change, and hence break, with the way Halakha has heretofore been applied and practiced. It does little good to conjure up words from the Talmud to bolster shaky arguments. Are the proponents of Feminist minyans performing a kiddush Hashem ("sanctification of God's name") then when they seek to go against their own Orthodox fathers' and mothers' practices? Surely not! Where is the lo tasur ("you shall not move") from the ways of the sages, here? On what basis are you equating Jewish women in the Jewish Temples of 2,000 years ago with modern 20th century Feminists? Yet again, you commit an error of false comparison and poor logic. Are the heirs to the traditions of the Jewish Temple, namely the majority of noted and respected Talmudic sages saying what you imply and quote here? That is the crux of the matter. You are assuming (falsely) that the situation today parallels what may have been true in the times of the Temples, an assertion that is most problematic. IZAK 07:13, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
This has been an interesting conversation. It's clear we're not going to convince each other. Suffice it to say that there have been many innovations in Judaism that have endured and shaped what it is today. The Rambam's fusion of Jewish practice and Aristotelian philosophy, the writing and codification of the Oral Law, and the development of the Chassidic movement are but a few of the bigger of many examples. Most of the current prayer service, from the Kabbalat Shabbat to the Pesukei DeZimarah, was unheard of in the days of the Talmud. All of these developments and more were, at one time, sharply criticized. Yet Judaism survived, and perhaps was enhanced by, them all. You give no reason to distinguish these innovations from others. Many of their inventors were obscure at the time they developed their innovations, and became famous (and Gedolai Hador) only later, after people began accepting what they had initially dismissed. If halakha prohibits new customs entirely rather than merely setting limits on them, none these things, which we take for granted today, could have happened. --Shirahadasha 02:05, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Shira: Sure there have been many "innovations in Judaism" as you say, but perhaps, from a critical perspective, maybe a "partnership minyan" follows in the footsteps of, and is fated to be regarded as, Reform Judaism or, alas, Christianity? It is all very well for you to bounce around the names of the Rambam or of the Chasidic movement -- but you ignore that the Rambam and the Chasidim sought to bring about a greater adherence to tradition and did not seek to break it down nor to break away from it to the degree that a "partnership minyan" does, and that the classical writings of the Rambam and of the Chasidic masters are regarded with respect and awe and applied by the same authorities and communities that view modern-day capitulations to Feminism and hence to the modern sexual revolution (with associated other ends such as acceptance of gay marriages and gay rabbis, as well as lower standards for conversion and acceptance of interfaith couples and their children -- in effect the agenda of Reform). To think that Rabbis Shapiro and Sperber will one day become "gedolei hador" is too weird beyond belief and only shows that such views are out of touch with what is happening in the mainstream world of Torah scholarship today. With all the comparisons you cite, the very "innovations" in the times of the Talmud had absolutely nothing to do with allowing women a greater role in synagogue services, so again, you are making connections between subjects and ideas that are totally unrelated, a failing both of perspective and of logic. IZAK 07:09, 11 May 2006 (UTC)


All the criticism in the objections section will have to be sourced to reliable published sources or deleted as original research. Instead of saying "objectors," particular critics have to be named and cited, and then their arguments should either be quoted or paraphrased very closely, giving full citations. SlimVirgin (talk) 14:25, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't think you understand the editors objections. The objections to feminism are well known in the orthodox world. In fact they are so well know known it is hard to find sources that say explicitly that they are objectionable. The haredi community in particular has little interaction with these movements and has no need to write a strong rebuke of them as their objects are already well known. Responsa that deal tangentially with these issues already assume that the reader knows the problem with these practices. However Rabbi Shlomo Aviner has written a little on the subject in Hebrew. Jon513 18:10, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Regardless of how well known it may be to some people, we're writing this article for readers who may not know it well, or even at all, and we need sources to conform to WP:NOR and WP:V. If these opinions are well known, someone reliable will have published them, and there are anyway positions stated in that section that have nothing to do with feminism. SlimVirgin (talk) 18:17, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
now that i think about it the article by rabbi Aviner is a very good summary of ideas in the orthodox community. Jon513 18:19, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Here's an example. How about Feldheim's classic general critique of religious feminism "Orthodox Feminism and Feminist Orthodoxy" (Jewish Action, 1999) [1] (pdf) (Jewish Action, 1999). The article doesn't address all the Partnership minyan-specific issues, but provides some general objections to e.g. women's interest in traditional male, issues of tzniut, etc. You are welcome to quote or paraphrase. --Shirahadasha 19:48, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Sourcing Jewish law is neither easy nor simple and is very tricky[edit]

Slim: Wikipedia is not the place to publish new unheard of "responsa" that tout Modern Orthodox Feminism POV articles about positions that that fly in the face of any known Orthodox Jewish practices that no-one has heard of before -- to do so would be the equivalant of ORIGINAL RESEARCH, which unfortunately this article itself, and not its objections, is guilty of! A little searching on Google will unearth many quotes of the sources to support the objections in any case. However, one should be aware that the langauge of the Talmud, the Shulkhan Arukh ("Code of Jewish Law"), Rabbinical literature and Responsa in general are very difficult to read, study and comperhend in their original Hebrew (or Aramaic, as the case may be) and that is why there are specialists, known as poskim ("decisors of Jewish law") who are relied upon to have the final say in matters of Jewish law, and no Wikipedia article should fly in the face of this reality as far as Orthdox Judaism is concerned, unless it wants to be guilty of "Original Research". What one will have here is basically references in articles available on the Internet that will cite many sources. None of us here is a "rabbinic authority" but as editors we are capable on reporing, describing and explaining for an encycplodia audience the reality of the situation and not a concocted version that only a very minor liberal minority maybe practices within Orthodox Judaism. IZAK 06:24, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

IZAK, Wikipedia is not the place for unsourced edits or original research. The article states that there is a movement to introduce partnership minyanim. It explains what the movement is and what a partnership minyan is, and why it's needed in the view of some people. No policy issues so far, because it's either all sourced or easy to source (and if you need a source for a particular point, please ask for one.) However, there is then a criticism section, which gives the opinions of unnamed sources. Those sources must be named, their opinions must have been published, and those publications must be cited, or else the section will be deleted. See WP:V. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:12, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Agree unsourced statements should be removed and original research violates WP policy. If criticism is as strong and universal as suggested, doubtless there will be no problem finding additional sources for any additional objections. --Shirahadasha 03:17, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Slim: Very basic and clear objections to the new innovations are revealed in the article from The Forward -- a clear "source". As Jon has stated above, the "partnership minyan" experiment is so alien to Haredi and Hasidic Judaism that those movements themselves see no need to elaborate on a trend that is so counter to Orthodox Judaism as practiced over hundreds of years. The sources exist and I have mentioned many of them by heading in this discussion, as any classical student of rabbinics will recognize, but at this juncture a quote of rebuttal from a newspaper that mentions the views of Orthodox rabbis involved with this issue will do as befits such a silly effort. IZAK 06:46, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Not sure which part of which effort you're calling silly, but thanks for finding the source. I'm sorry for inserting a couple of invisible questions, but because you called it a "summary," I didn't realize it was a quote. The article's looking quite a bit better now. SlimVirgin (talk) 10:34, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
Slim: From the Haredi and Hasidic POV the new-fangled "partnership minyan" is worse than silly (it may be an outright blasphemy...) At any rate, no need to be sorry about anything, you are ever the first rate editor! The quotes from The Forward article are not "the source" in the absolute sense but it does "sum up" some of the objections and it does suffice for Wikipedia purposes. The underlying issues run far deeper than any newspaper article, which is why Shira has attempted to quote the many older rabbinic sources, but no-one but the "ultra-Modern Orthodox" buy into, and even many of them have serious doubts about it because the Jewish Orthodox Feminsist Alliance is basically viewed as a very radical organization outside the mainstream of Orthdodoxy, even Modern Orthodoxy. It's a debate that is taking place right now as we tap-tap on our keyboards... Be well. IZAK 06:11, 12 May 2006 (UTC)


Does anyone mind if I move the page to Partnership minyan? Or should both words be capitalized? SlimVirgin (talk) 14:28, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

No strong views one way or the other --Shirahadasha 15:19, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
You are correct it should be moved. Wikipedia:Naming_conventions#Lowercase_second_and_subsequent_words Jon513 17:43, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Done. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:57, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

Liberal Objections[edit]

Given our long discussion on (small-c) conservative objections, the same applies to liberal objections. Source please. Original research violates WP policy. As before, if objections are as general as claimed, reliable sources shouldn't be difficult to find.--Shirahadasha 00:23, 16 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Shira: Editors come along at different times and do not read every last word on a talk page, nor are they required to, so you cannot assume that the latest editor/s to the article have read through our laborious discussions in the talk page/s. You must show more caution, you cannot delete passages in articles that you dislike and claim that they are both "original research" and that they require "sources". Original research and the need for sources is not the same thing. Many statements can be acknowldged as true, such as that the non-Orthodox reject any references to gender-based roles since they regard themselves as "egalitarians", without requiring "sources". Is there a need to "prove" that Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist policies make men and women equal for everything in their synagogues? I doubt it, it's an obvious widely known and practiced fact and reality. Do we require "sources" that it is dark at night? It is a self-evident fact. I have therefore reverted that edit and clarified its wording so that it reads more clearly (for now... until the next editor can improve it... this is, after all, Wikipedia... anyone can edit...) IZAK 18:56, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

OK, you're right, I was definitely too hasty. I've found a source for liberal objections and am editing the section to include a quote from it. We'll chalk this one up to experience. ---- —Preceding unsigned comment added by Shirahadasha (talkcontribs)

  • Fair enough, but it looks like you typed "----" at the end of your last response instead of "~~~~", best wishes, IZAK 18:15, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Orthodox objections, recent article from Beth Din head[edit]

Recent article by Rabbi Moshe Kurtstag, Dayan and the Av Beit Din of the Orthodox community of South Africa. How can it be used in this article? IZAK 18:36, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Published in JEWISH TRADITION, the official publication of the UNION OF ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUES OF SOUTH AFRICA (UOS) JEWISH TRADITION (PESACH 5766 – 2006), p. 39. 2006 Volume 52 Number 1. EDITOR: Marilyn Segal PO Box 46559, Orange Grove, 2119, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The role of women in the synagogue

Does Judaism discriminate against women in the synagogue? Can a woman only express herself spiritually if she participates in a minyan? In this article RABBI M. KURTSTAG, Head of the South African Beth Din, gives his opinion.

Synagogues, as they exist worldwide today, are modeled on the Beis Kamikdash, the Temple of Torah times. And in the Temple officiating roles and privileges were strictly defined by God as written in the Torah, and could not be changed by the whim of man. So only a Cohen could be an officiating priest, and his position was defined by his birth and age. Similarly, the Talmud defined a minyan as constituted by ten males aged 13 ore older – and even a mature genius of 12 with an IQ of 150 could not replace a 80 year who had almost “lost it”.

If someone declared that he wanted to be a Cohen, a priest, he could not. If I decide that I want to represent clients in the High Court I cannot because although I am a dayan (a judge) in the Jewish ecclesiastical courts I am not qualified as an advocate. This is not to say that I am a worse human being than an advocate or inferior to him. There are qualifications in life, and not everyone can do whatever he wants. In modern South Africa equality does not mean that everybody is equal in every respect or that every citizen has the same qualifications.

God never created everybody to be the same. He created people with different IQs and different psychological and physical makeups, and the beauty is in the variety. So the misinterpretation that women are perceived as inferior by Judaism because they cannot constitute a minyan is nonsense.

On the contrary the Talmud and the Rabbis say that a person must respect his wife more than he does his own body. The principle in Jewish law is that women have a very important role to play, and nobody can reproach Judaism for discrimination. I am sure it is well known that when HaKadosh Baruch Hu (the Holy One blessed be he) created man and woman he created different functions for them physically, psychologically, and mentally.

We know that men cannot substitute for women and can’t replace women. Similarly, it is recognized by everybody that women by nature are more spiritual than men. This is their uniqueness and grace and they should not try to blur this feature and attempt to make themselves out to be men. Women are more bonded, more at one with God than man, and therefore they don’t need to get involved to the same extent in practical mitzvahs, including prayer. They do not have to pray the full prayers, nor are they obligated to pray three times a day.

Although women are exempted from many mitzvahs which are confined to time, there are other mitzvahs they are obligated to do and, in addition, there is a lot of scope for women to uplift themselves spiritually and intellectually if they so desire. There is nothing in the world to prevent a Jewish woman from learning and studying and I personally have never met a woman who does all the obligatory mitzvahs and who has said that she is not fulfilled.

But now there is talk of the role of the women in the synagogue, of the need for them to constitute a minyan or lead the services. This is not what God wanted us to do. We believe in the Torah and in Chazal (the Sages) and in the tradition that a minyan is constituted by ten men over the age of barmitzvah. There are qualifications for a minyan, and a woman is exempt from this qualification. (Of course women are free to appoint a chazanta, a female chazzan, for themselves and have their all-women services, but this won’t constitute a minyan.)

Our duty as Jews, from a religious point of view, is to try to do what God wants us to do and not what we want to do, for otherwise we would be formulating our own religion. So if you believe in the written law and the oral law, you have to accept what God wants you to do, and women have to accept it too – and do accept it.

The role of the woman in the synagogue is to sit in the ezrat nashim, in the (ladies) gallery, and to pray for what she wishes. It is better to pray in shull than privately because, according to the Rambam, God listens to tefila betzibur (communal prayer) and the very fact that a person is within the community implies that there is a better chance of her or his prayer being accepted by God.

A woman can achieve her purpose in life and domain just as a man can in his. And in the achievement there is equality. There is no need to show that you can change a car tire. To me it looks simple, but I understand that there are people who want to make a fuss. Fine, we don’t stand in their way. As long as they don’t deceive the public by saying their choice is Orthodox.

A Partnership Minyan requires 10 men, there is no question of women comprising the halakhic minyan. Your article is actually surprisingly liberal in some respects, since it states thst "Of course women are free to appoint a chazanta, a female chazzan, for themselves and have their all-women services, but this won’t constitute a minyan." The 2nd Frimer article, WOMEN'S PRAYER SERVICES - THEORY AND PRACTICE1 Tradition, 32:2, pp. 5-118 (Winter 1998) contains a fairly comprehensive set of arguments and sources for and against women's prayer groups, include "Stringent School" arguments that women aren't free to do this ("The next school of thought on women's prayer groups maintains that the entire institution is 'forbidden by law.'").--Shirahadasha 03:10, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Yes, I agree by the way, that Rabbi Kurtstag is definitely making a concession for women to have the right to create their own Tefillah groups, as they are known. But that makes what he has to say about attemtps to create and justify a "partnership minyan" even more serious. IZAK 13:49, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

I also wanted to ask one teaser question regarding your source's implied claim that women never counted in the minyan in the Beit Hamikdash. There's an interesting discussion in Pesachim 79b as follows:

THOSE WHO ARE TAHOR MAKE THE FIRST [pesach offering] BUT THOSE WHO ARE TAMEI MAKE NEITHER THE FIRST NOR THE SECOND -- how will they explain it [the Breitah, i.e. how can this case arise]? Rav will explain it. [It refers to] a case where the male Jews were half tahor and half tamei, but women increased the tahor people [and turned them into the majority]. And [the Tannah of this Bereitah] holds that [the participation of] women [in the offering ] on the first [pesach] is obligatory, whereas [their participation] on the second [Pesach] is optional. On the first Pesach [those who are tamei] do not make [the offering] because they are a minority [of the total populace, which includes women] and a minority does not make pthe offering in tumah] on the first [Pesach]. And on the second [pesach] [those who are tamei] do not make [the offering, because since the participation of women on the second pesach is merely optional you must] subtract the women from the count [of the populace] with the result that [the counted ones] are half tahor and half tamei. And [the rule is that] half [of the populace] does not make [the offering] on the second [Pesach]. (Pesachim 79b, Schottenstein Edition)

What do you make of that? If women aren't counted in Pesach offerings for which they are obligated, why can their numbers determine the majority status so that whether they are counted or not tips the scales? --Shirahadasha 03:11, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Hi: Firstly, your quote is talking about general population count and not about the specifics of a "minyan" as such. I do not see the word "minyan" there. Similarly, we learn about the POSITION of women (that they were confined to the ezrat nashim), in the sense of LOCATION, from the Temple -- but what CONSTITUTES a minyan is NOT learned from that source, so you commit a serious classical error of false reasoning by confusing the apples and oranges. You are also missing an important underlying point here, in that you are assuming, and taking it upon yourself, to adduce and adjudicate from these quotes you cite in the Gemara to make it appear as if they are a basis for some kind of new-fangled "rulings" or p'sak din that allow for something that the vast majority (99.99%, and then some) of Gemara scholars never allowed or said and even at the present time do not say nor allow (and please don't say that "shtreimels" are also innovations, as if "shtreimels = ladies countinmg in an Orthodox minyan). Be well, IZAK 13:41, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
IZAK, You're reading far too much into what I said and drawing an inference I never made. My point was to provide a single counterexample, a single case where women counted in the Beit HaMikdash for a single purpose, involving a single korban. No modern p'sak of any kind is involved here. Counting for other purposes, and certainly counting in a contemporary synagogue minyan, are wholly different matters. I never drew any inference from one to the other. It sems to me you're also trying to read in an inference that a Partnership minyan counts women in the minyan of 10. It doesn't do this. Your source, which is focused on objections to women counting in a minyan, is clearly objecting to Conservative/Reform practices that simply aren't relevant here. Your source may well object to a partnership minyan on other grounds (e.g. women leading services), but it seems to me that on the minyan issue you're trying to create an impression that simply isn't accurate. Shabbat Shalom --Shirahadasha 22:40, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Shochetman Article[edit]

Would it be possible to provide a citation for the article in standard form including article title, journal volume number, etc., including mentioning the language if the article isn't in English.

Also, would it be possible to provide a brief mention of the main argument, or a brief quote? Simple mention of the article's existence would better belong in "Further Reading" than the main body. --Shirahadasha 16:35, 7 July 2006 (UTC)

Shira Hadasha has very weak halachik basis[edit]

Many of my cousins in israel attend shira hadasha and I went once and actually found it very interesting, and found most of the people (including my cousins) to be sincere. However, when I did some research into the issues I was dismayed to find that Shapiro's arguments for women reading torah are very weak for two reasons: #1- most rishonim say women were never able to read the whole portion for men, only parts of it, even before k'vod hatzibur was raised as another objection. Some say they could read 6 aliyot, some say 3 or 4 and others say they could only read shevii or only when no man knows how to read. It's not clear how we pasken, so shira hadasha should only really let women read the last aliya or theyre already violating numerous opinions without even entering into k'vod hatzibur. How many aliyot do women at shira hadasha do, does anyone know? do they do all of them? b/c theres no justification for that in the rishonim. and #2- Shapiro's own article shows that kvod hatzibur can only be waived on a situational basis (b'shaat hadechak), if theres no other way to do it, or for competing halachik concerns, like embarrasing kohanim. Saying that barring women from reading is a halachik concern of k'vod habriyot (as Sperber tries to argue) is entering down the fluffy road of conservative teshuvot and doesnt belong in a technical halachik discussion. The philosophical discussion of women being hurt by all this is interesting and needs to be adressed, but it has no bearing on the halacha. Women doing kabalat shabat and pesukei d'zimra seems more interesting an argument to me b/c theyre not halachik categories to begin with and we even let kids do them. But it seems hard to deny that its text-book kol ishah to have one women be the center of attention singing to a whole congregation. Rav Weinberg's justification for women to sing zemirot shouldnt be taken out of its narrow context (a group of people singing at a table) and assumed that this allows one women to sing to hundreds of spectators based on this limited heter. But i hope poskim adress this issue, as its more compelling than the torah reading argument, for which I really see no halachik or historic basis for, as its blatantly contradicted by a baraita, tosefta, rambam, shulhan aruch, etc. Does anyone know if there are more traditional partnership minyanim that allow women to do kabalat shabat but NOT to read the torah? I feel thats a compromise that might help SH be more acceptable to orthodoxy. Otherwise, I think they'll continue to be a fringe. Does anyone know if I can write these halachik objections into the wikipedia page itself, or is that editorializing? I don't know how wikipedia works in terms of all that, but I think some of these clear halachik issues I raised should be put on the page so readers have some more orientation in the issue. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:56, 7 February 2007 (UTC).

Hello, you need reliable sources to add content to articles. Wikipedia policy doesn't permit offering ones own original opinion based on compiling original sources. However, there are several good sources raising Halakhic objections to the approach that are cited in the article. These include one by Yehudah Herzl Henkin and one by Gidon Rothstein. You're welcome to link to these articles or other similar ones and provide more information about their objections to these practices, as long as what you add is based on these sources and not your own view of Halakha. Best, --Shirahadasha 00:07, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

-I see that the page itself has links to rothstein and shochetmans pieces and is careful to say that no orthodox posek or major umbrella orginization has accepted SH, and that its a small minority, so I guess the page is accurate and fair, and I dont need to add these objections. But anyways, I still haven't heard any adequate responses to rothstein and shochetmans points, could someone tell me if shapiro or sperber plan on publishing a response, like in tradition magazine? I want to be able to follow the whole controversy. also, I edited the first sentence to read that SH is orthodox "according to its adherents" since, as the article itself is careful to say repeatedly, most orthodox jews dont consider it orthodox/halachik and its stil a small minority. ---yaakov from NY —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14 February 2007

Hi, I had to revert an edit you made which said that R. Gidon Rothstein article characterized the Magen Avraham's view that women could count in a minyan for purposes of Torah reading as a "minority opinion" etc. The only place R. Rothstein article ever mentions the Magen Avraham is in footnote 31, where R. Rothstein discusses only the Magen Avraham's view of Kavod Hatzibur. R. Rothstein's article never once mentions the Magen Avraham's view of the issue of women counting in a minyan for purposes of Torah reading and never expresses any opinion about it. Please be careful to make make sure that edits actually represent the sources they are attributed to. If you are in any doubt, suggest begin by quoting the sources directly. We can always summarize later in a way that's transparent to other editors. Best, --Shirahadasha 19:26, 19 February 2007 (UTC) Again, the purpose is not to prevent including additional objections to the claims and practices this article discusses -- there are already quite a few present in the article. The purpose is simply to comply with Wikipedia's No Original Research, and Verifiability policies and the Reliable Sources guideline. Just need to make sure edits actually reflect the sources they are attributed to. Chodesh Tov and have a very happy Adar, --Shirahadasha 19:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

For the record, I was not quoting Rothstein when I wrote that women are not obligated in Torah reading, I was quoting halacha. It is a verifiable fact that magen avraham is a minority opinion and most authorities exempt women from torah reading. The bit about hakhel is irrelivant because that was only once in seven years and has nothing to do with the rabbinically mandated weekly reading, from which women are exempt. Rothstein certainly DOES make mention of women's exemption (though not magen avraham directly), its the crux of his entire thesis! His whole point is that women should not read for men because they arent obligated. So no rabbi rothstein does not direclty say magen avraham is not accepted, he simply disregards his opinion, so implicitly he is rejecting it. Also, someone keeps removing my addition of Rothsteins key line that states that "granting all of rabbi of rabbi shapiros points still only supports women reading the seventh portion". I've added that line numerous times and its always been removed, I can only assume because it embarrases SH for exposing the lack of halachik basis they have. I'm going to put it back up, its a direct quote, not my just my own opinion. Its troubling that SH needs to rely on piecing together minority opinions but thats not how mainstream halacha operates. Someone also edited my subjective title to this conversation that "SH has very weak halachik basis", which is strange because I started this part of the page, I thought I could title it however I choose. User:Yaakov of NY

Hello User:Yaakov of NY, just a reminder that Wikipedia's verifiability policy requires providing a source for claims about what "halacha" says. In order to be "quoting halacha", one has to quote some halachic authority. For example, Shapiro cited authorities who disagreed with your view that "Hakhel is irrelevant"; the encyclopedia's content can't be based on an editor's personal opinion on such issues. I do agree that Gidon Rothstein's article assumes that women are not obligated in Torah reading without discussing the issue. Also, I will add in the Rothstein quote that you mentioned. Finally, I believe the article mentions that the opinions involved are minority in nature; I don't believe this is concealed. Best, --Shirahadasha 23:02, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Shavuah tov, shirahadasha. First of all, I aplogize for my angry tone in the last post, I was just angry that someone kept removing that line I kept adding. I'm impressed that you've always remained curteous in your replies. (I'm sure that you are used to being attacked from the right, you surely must be numb to it by now). However, understand that I, and many other fully modern open orthodox jews like me, are deeply disturbed by the breach in community and serious break with halacha and tradition that we see in your service, especially since no posek has endorsed it, which is a dangerous precedent to set. I don't know how to properly cite sources yet on wikipedia so allow me for now to make my arguments in this informal forum instead: first of all, my beef with your inclusion of the magen avraham/hakhel argument is that its not even one of shapiro's main points, he only cites it as one of the many interesting explanations for why women can fulfill a man's obligation in torah reading, but he doesnt rely on it le'maaseh. The explanation he focuses on most is the notion that torah reading is a communal obligation and therefore not subject to the usual laws of discharging others' obligations (which is actually true, thats the halachik consesus, as he demonstrates). That leads me to conclude that you only put the magen avraham argument on this page in order to counter rothsteins central thesis, which focuses on obligation. This is disingenuous to the wikipedia reader because, while it provides a convenient counter to rothstein/shochetman, its not shapiros main point; he focused on the communal obligation issue. So I think it distracts from the real issues brought up by both authors, and I think it would do Shapiro and wikipedia readers justice to present shapiros centrall arguments. Happy adar. Yaakov of NY

Shavua tov, Yaakov of NY. I disagree with your view that the Magen Avraham argument isn't one of R. Shapiro's "main" points and hence I disagree that including it in the article misrepresents R. Shapiro's argument. R. Shapiro gives the underlying argument a prominent place in the article (it's in Section A) and he makes it logically necessary to his conclusion. R. Shapiro wrote on pp. 3-4 of his article ([2]):
It is indeed true that the most serious halakhic obstacle to women’s participation in communal ritual life on an equal footing with men is the rule enunciated in Mishnah Rosh ha-Shanah (3:8): “This is the general principle: one who is not himself under obligation to perform a religious duty cannot perform it on behalf of a congregation.” For a variety of reasons of both general and specific application, women frequently are not invested with the same level of halakhic obligation as are men, and as a result cannot perform religious obligations on behalf of men. Nonetheless, it is clear that this principle cannot be applied to the case of qeri’at ha-Torah....A number of reasons can be suggested for why, according to the baraita, women are at least theoretically capable of performing qeri’at ha-Torah on behalf of men. The first is as suggested by R. Avraham Avli Gombiner in Magen Avraham...
Thus, R. Shapiro's article indeed claims, and very directly, that women are members of the "obligated community" for purposes of Torah reading it and relies on the Magen Avraham as his first and principle (although not the only) support for this claim. And moreover, R. Shapiro clearly articulates his understanding that his whole argument would be dead in the water if he were unable to show that women are able to discharge the community's obligation on behald of men in the first place. I don't see how it can be said that these statements are peripheral to R. Shapiro's main point. R. Shapiro clearly articulates their centrality. In all candor, I think it a weakness of R. Rothstein's article that he didn't address this claim head-on by analyzing the arguments and authorities R. Shapiro brought forth in this section and attempting to refute R. Shapiro's claim that the nature of women's obligation in Torah reading is different from other matters. Thanks so much for your courteous and thoughtful response. Shavua Tov and happy adar, --Shirahadasha 06:03, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Shira: The "R. Shapiro" you keep on "citing" is a total non-entity in the world of Halakha and the fact that you seem to think that people can put up with your falsifications forever, is getting rather tiresome. "R. Shapiro" ain't no Joseph Karo or Moshe Isserlis so don't talk about him like he was...Hmmm maybe now that Purim is a few weeks away, feel free to quote him in Purim Torah. IZAK 06:10, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
A request for calm seems to be in order. What matters is what is citable to reliable sources. Now, if someone can find a source that says something of the form "Almost all achronim disagree with this" then we can include it. It shouldn't be that hard to find reliable sources which make such a statement if it is true (which I suspect it is). Without that sort of thing, this becomes a large amount of debating and original research with little relevancy to the article at hand. JoshuaZ 06:14, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

No halakhic support for egalitarian innovations in Orthodoxy[edit]

Since User:Shirahadasha continuously "quotes" people like Mendel Shapiro as if he were a latter-day "Rambam" or a kind of still-with-us "Rabbi Moshe Feinstein" and would have the ignorant world believe that he and his publications are like valid incarnations of the "Shulkhan Arukh" or some sort of universally accepted "responsa" or "rabbinic literature" while in truth all the ultra-modernists care about is the POV agenda to support the new-fangled and unheard of notion of ladies joining men in a minyan and still calling it "Orthodox" -- the basic question is not being asked here: Which notable HALAKHISTS and POSKIM support Mendel Shapiro or Daniel Sperber or Tova Hartman and such feminist supporter/activist types? Are there any well-known DAYANIM and BATEI DIN in the world of Orthodox Judaism that in any way lend open and written (haskamot) to these kind of revolutionary things? Has even the left-of center RCA or the fairly moderate Chief Rabbinate of Israel or any known Orthodox rabbinical association or group given any hint that they OFFICIALLY approves of "partnership minyanim"? The opposition of the official HaEdah HaCharedis, reflective of those of Haredi Judaism and Hasidic Judaism, is so implicitly clear that the question of "permissibility" of such an alien notion does not even arise in the first place. So the basic question remains, who backs the views of Mendel Shapiro and Daniel Sperber in the first place?, because as of now, aside from their academic writings in universities and non-Halakhic forums, NO-ONE who counts as an authority in Halakha supports them or agrees with them in any way. User:Shirahadasha cannot "plant" false impressions about how Halakhic (i.e. Orthodox) Judaism functions by spreading false impressions that an unknown lawyer and small-time rabbi or a university professor with semichah can somehow or other change the course of Halakhic and by definition Jewish history. Such is the lie the ignorant readers are being asked to swallow which is not fair to them and certainly not to Orthodox Judaism. By the way, why not call a "partnership minyan" and someone who really believes in this type of thing Reform or Conservative and be done with all this wasteful argumentation, and Shirah could then stop the creation of tendentious articles and "biographies" that are only conjured up in order to back up her central thrust to bolster "Jewish feminism" in any way she can? But that is another issue that radical-ultra-Modern-Orthodoxists (who are basically Conservadox) need to settle for themselves. Oh and by the way, here is a case of a very Modern Orthodox gal (I better watch myself, Shira might want to make an article for her too) who finally threw in the towel and had the courage of her convictions to join Reform, where she belonged in any case the moment she started to break with Orthodoxy, see this: After four years of teaching in several Israeli programs for American young women, Shapiro Katz, who has since married, returned to the U.S. and is now on the faculty of an adult education program of a large Reform temple in San Francisco. “I’m a pluralist educator now and I feel liberated, but I no longer have influence over the Orthodox world,” she said, which saddens her. “I wear pants so I’m pasul.” Maybe Shapiro, Sperber and Hartman (and those who cheer them on) should all do the same and do everyone a(n intellectually honest) favor and admit that they have more in common with Reform than with Orthodoxy...Time will tell... IZAK 09:55, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

We need to present the facts like they are. I don't think your personal assessment of Shirahadasha is helpful here; in fact, I support most of her edits to Judaism articles when they are not about feminism. What this article needs to state is that the Partnership Minyan only has the support of some minor voices in the Modern Orthodox rabbinate. These men, while clearly not enjoying the support of the Moetzes Gedolei Torah or even more modern rabbinic bodies, are still to be regarded as Orthodox unless they are actually thrown out or decide to start of their own branch of Judaism (call it Conservadox, Open Orthodoxy, Modern Modern Orthodoxy or any postmodernist terminology).
Being Orthodox often means suppressing personal convictions; Rabbi Shimon ben Pakuli had to withdraw an enormous body of legitimate Torah study, but took it in good humour and expressed hope that his humility would gain him Heavenly reward. Instead of changing the agenda of Orthodoxy, perhaps the left-leaning should examine their own agendas and decide how much of it is being informed by external influences that are ultimately at variance with tradition. JFW | T@lk 14:40, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
IZAK, although the RCA certainly hasn't endorsed the approach as a group, it did publish two articles, not one, in its journal Tradition. R. Gidon Rothstein's article was strongly against, but R. Joel Wolwelsky's article was favorable. This is not endorsement -- certainly the body as a whole hasn't endorsed it -- but it is not universal opposition either, and publication of a favorable article in Tradition suggests that the RCA, while it may regard the viewpoint as an incorrect or minority opinion, doesn't regard it as a non-Orthodox one, which as you acknowledge is an important distinction. It's also worth noting that R. Rothstein's article, even in the course of disagreeing with R. Shapiro's viewpoint, expressed a view that R. Shapiro's viewpoint is notable, hence encyclopedic. I'm not aware that the RCA's journal Tradition is considered a "non-Halakhic forum", although of course articles don't represent psak on specific cases. Finally, I'm not in any way suggesting R. Mendel Shapiro is comparable to the Rambam or to Moshe Feinstein. Best, --Shirahadasha 15:05, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
IZAK, a general comment: I believe the Rabbinical Council of America's decision to devote the Summer 2005 issue of its journal Tradition to multiple articles on the subject of women's aliyyot is very reliable evidence that whatever one's view of which side is correct, the issue has enough notability in the segment of the Orthodox world the RCA serves to be clearly notable and encyclopedic. Given this coverage and the RCA's decision to publish articles by rabbis who claimed Mendel Shapiro's idea is notable and worthy of consideration, I honestly don't see what point is served by using article talk pages for purposes of a debate on the subject. If you feel that the article doesn't make sufficiently clear that the viewpoint is a minority and controversial one, fine, perhaps this could be better clarified. But given this RCA decision (as well as the outcome of the last set of AfDs), I think the question of notability should be closed and Wikipedia Talk pages should be reserved for discussion of article content, not for expression of personal beliefs about whether or not the article subject, or the RCA's treatment of it, is correct. Best, --Shirahadasha 22:42, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Shira: Sometimes it is better to take the long route and discuss things on talk pages at length before adding or implementing information in the articles themselves. How often do we read objections such as "discuss this on talk page" or "should be discussed on talk page first"? So stop carping please. My main point has not changed, and you refuse to see it, and that is that as far as Orthodox Judaism is concerned (including the majority of rabbis in the RCA who hopefully know the difference between a true Posek and Gadol and a simple writer in their journal), that Mendel Shapiro, Daniel Sperber or these others you mention, like Gidon Rothstein and Joel Wolwelsky are totally not notable in any way as poskim or authorities or anything really because they are usually just salaried pulpit rabbis, they are just "jobniks" and not true Gedolei Yisrael. There are tens of thousands of people with Orthodox semichas but they in no way are ever regarded as definitive sources of guidepost "rulings" on anything in Orthodoxy. At best they write essays and musings that in past generations would never come to light, but due to the easiness with which anything can get published today in print or on the Internet, the words of these relative non-entities receive undue attention and are even given "weight" by the attention of most readers on Wikipedia or the Internet who have no conception how Halakha is fomulated, promulgated, taught and observed. Any writings that break with traditional Halakha are dangerous, and coming from people with POV women's liberation agendas, are destroying Orthodox Judaism -- that is not "my" opinion. Tell me which significant Orthodox Halakhic authorities argue with that? Finally, my views are not "personal" as I do not express my personal views on Wikipedia when dealing with subjects. Funny how you call views you disagree with as my "personal views" but your views should be assumed to be "above it all"? How two-faced is that? IZAK 06:03, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

To Izak : While I agree with many of your points, I don't think it helps convince anyone to use the combatitive tone youre using. Pause and think if youre really trying to convince people l'shem shamayim or just venting. That being said, shirahadasha, I don't think RCA's decision to publish that article grants the type of legitmacy you see in it. First of all, something being "encyclopedic" only shows there was a need to respond to it because its out there, but the need to respond may well have been precisely to dispel the notion that its legitimate, not to include it in the conversation. For example, orthodox prof. michael broyde published an article in judaism magazine disputing conservative prof. judith hauptman's contention that a woman can serve as a chazan. He only engaged in the conversation in order to publicly diprove it to a large audience. When a conservative rabbi made a ketuba that he said would solve the aguna problem, orthodox rabbis wrote decrying and disaproving of it. Other examples abound. In other words, someting being "encyclopedic" does not imply that it is seen as legitimate by those who see the need to discuss it, but sometimes the opposite, theyre only discussing it to deligitimize it. Rothsteins piece conlcudes that SH has "failed" from an orthodox perspective, clearly rejecting its entire legitimacy, not simply disagreeing. He also writes at the end that SH adherents participate in "what they deem to be an orthodox setting", meaning it isnt necessarily orthodox, but they think it is. Also, Tradition did not publish "multiple" articles about womens aliyot in that issue, there was in fact only one article devoted specifically to the issue, and it was negative. (which I think shows that the RCA wants to disprove it). Wolowelsky's piece was vague, and seemed to be a general conversation-spurring food for thought piece on when it's legitimate to try and get around a halacha (like asking a Kohen to leave the shul so a yisrael can get an aliya) but he doesnt come to any conclusions about womens aliyot in that article, nor does he offer any justifications for it, or adress the halachik issues involved. He simply wonders aloud when its legitimate to stretch halacha in order to accomodate people's feelings, but is repeatedly careful to say things like "I'm not saying this justifies womens aliyot, but...". I've heard that Wolowelsky advocates minyanim of only Kohanim to let women have aliyot, in keeping with maharam rothenberg's teshuva, but thats not what SH does (they let women hav aliyot in regular minyanim) so his theory can't be seen as supporting SH, but precisely the opposite: he came up with that idea b/c he finds SH to be halachkly inadequate. Also, R. Henkin says SH is "not orthodox" and Shochetman also concludes that it has "no basis", he doesnt simply register his disagreement. So IZAK has a point about the notability thing. But the article already mentions that its a small minority so I feel like the notibility problem is adressed pretty adequately already. - yaakov of NY

  • Hi Yaakov/yaakov: Thanks for the good information. PLEASE do not sign yourself as [[yaakov of NY]] because that only creates a red link for an article. As an editor/user you must sign in and log in on the [[Sign in/create account]] page and presumably you will want to use your user name of "User:Yaakov of NY". Thank you. IZAK 07:30, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Ok, I just figured out how to sign in sorry about that. YaakovOfNY 19:01, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Now that I figured out how to sign in: dear user:shirahadasha: I must persist in arguing that magen avraham is peripheral to r. shapiros point, as he himself, after briefly quoting magen avraham (on only one page, and then never invoking him again), moves on to say on page 5: "But the matter is best and most comprehensively resolved if we first understand the nature of the obligation of qeriat hatorah...a communal rather than personal obligation..that is to say the community, for this purpose a quorum of ten adult jewish males is obligated to provide a public reading"..He then goes on to say this position is the dominant one. Then on page 7 he concludes "the sticky issue of a woman being exempt simply does not come into play because its a communal rather than personal obligation". A simple survery of shapiros piece shows this to clearly be his own position: he concedes women are not olbigated, but nonetheless can read for men b/c its a general communal obligation. Therefore, I still think that including magen avraham on this page misrepresents rabbi shapiro and was only inserted in order to counter rothsteins claim, which seems to me to be editorializing. Recall that a few days ago you threatened to have me blocked from editing for mischaracterizing rothstein, but that was an honest mistake in technicality on my part as I didnt know wikipedia rules yet, but I was still verifiably halachikly correct, as r shapiro himself concedes. You seem to have no such excuse, as youre clearly well versed in wikipedia rules. So once again, I think this article as it is now misrepresents shapiro and should be changed to reflect his central thesis which is: "true, women are not obligated, but thats irrelivant because its a general communal obligaion" while rothstein argues that thats only technically true, but kvod tzibur itself reflects womens lesser obligation (a point subscribed to as well by shochetman, avi weiss, and moshe meiselman). Have an easy taanit. YaakovOfNY 19:26, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

My reading of R. Shapiro is that he holds the position that no-one, male or female, is personally obligated in Keriyat HaTorah in the way that men are personally obligated in tefillah, because it is a communal rather than a personal obligation in nature. Although he doesn't go as far as the Magen Avraham and doesn't hold that women count in the minyan for purposes of keriyat hatorah, as the Magen Avraham did, nonetheless, he relies on the Magen Avraham in holding that women originally (but for the Kevod Hatzibur issue) form part of the community that has the communal obligation, and for both reasons, women are not less obligated than men for purposes of keriyat hatorah in the way that they are les obligated for purposes of being shaliach tzibur for the amidah. Do you agree or disagree that this is R. Shapiro's position? Does the article not reflect this? Best, --Shirahadasha 21:09, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Shira: How on earth are you seriously comparing "Mendel Shapiro" with the Magen Avraham??? For Gawd's sakes, that's like comparing Kermit the Frog's ruminations with Goethe's philosophies (I am not sure which analogy to make to convince you so I will rely on this one for now), as you repeatedly do not display any real perspective on the critical differences between a modern-day basically unknown and insignificant writer/whatnot with seminally great figures who have been used as Halachic sources and guides for generations by giants in Torah scholarship in leading Klal Yisrael. Where will this madness stop? IZAK 14:11, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
If Kermit the Frog wrote an essay in which he claimed to rely on Goethe for an opinion, Wikipedia could report this reliance. I wouldn't perceive doing so as involving any comparison of Kermit the Frog to Goethe. Hope you're having a Tzom Kal. Best, --Shirahadasha 19:54, 1 March 2007 (UTC) One more comment: The reason R. Shapiro relied on the Magen Avraham (who as you stated was a "seminally great figure" in the Torah world) was because the Magen Avraham authored a Teshuva saying that women can count in the minyan for purposes of keriyat hatorah. It's mentioned and sourced in the Magen Avraham article. I believe it's perfectly legitimate for this article to mention this fact. Best, --Shirahadasha 04:57, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm, hi Shira, I ended my fast with one bagel and tuna salad in it, which did the trick. But you know, you amaze me, you talk as if the Mogen Avrohom's divrei Torah were sitting around for over three hundred years since the 1600s when he wrote them, waiting for the likes of reb Sperber and company to enlighten us about what he "really meant" -- and one thing we can assume 100% that whatever the Mogen Avrohom wrote then had nothing to do with what you are up to now with your tendentious POV goals of legitimating "partnership minyanim" etc etc. You know, this reminds me of that old vort I once heard in the name of a famous Rosh yeshiva who said "quote me a chazal and I will quote you another one against it" (yes, he was that brilliant) so that this "game" of ours here (and all we are really doing here is playing a game) has nothing to do with the way real and everlasting Halachah and piskei Halachah are created, enunciated and practiced in Klal Yisrael. The issues in the days of the Mogen Avrohom were not our issues. In those days Jews lived spread out over vast tracts of (Eastern) Europe, at best in shtetls and often living in isolated numbers in tiny hamlets and on farms under very hostile and primitive conditions and they would go months without a minyan or the death or absence of a few men could mean that a minyan came to a standstill for a long time. So the Mogen Avrohom threw in his penny's worth in THEORY -- who says that it became a "widespread" practice? No-one! In those days almost all Jews were very religious (in our parlance: "strictly Orthodox") and respected all the ways of Judaism, including women not jumping up and down and clammering as feminists do today to set up a "new world order" that the Torah had never stated nor enunciated at any time. They had no interest in aping society, which is the exact opposite with "partnership minyans" that seek to somehow or other ape Feminism. (Sure and I just hear you say, oh that is no different to Hasidism and the wearing of shtreimels, and other such ridiculous analogies not to the point.) At best, the Mogen Avrohom's words are a da'as yachid ("lone opinion") as you will not find his major contemporaries (during, before, or after him) saying what he says. Or, he was just musing aloud, never intending to issue a binding universal psak for all time, as Sperber and company pontificate about it and misrepresent it. If you learn Torah long enough you will come across many things that were said, applying to all sorts of situations Jews found themsleves in over the centuries and millenia, but the ability to extract and establish Halachik precedents from the Talmud and other primary sources, such as responsa, (especially new and HIGHLY controversial "customs" on a large scale, which is what JOFA is trying to do with partnership minyans) is a highly delicate and unique task for which neither Sperber nor Shapiro nor any of the MO rabbis are trained nor suited for, and it seems not even their RCA-type contemporaries take what they say seriously. The smart ones know this and watch themselves but there are always reckless or happy-go-lucky people who think they are "smart" enough to come up with formulas and applications that would have caused the Mogen Avrohom and probably all of Chazal to roll in their resting places if they knew just how badly their words were being twisted out-of-context and applied in a way that is clearly Megaleh panim beTorah shelo kehalachah. Anyways, Chag Purim Sameach -- I guess you will prefer to hear a woman "chant" the Megillah come this Purim, right? (If so, I hope she will be Halachically Jewish, as you never know if you have someone converted by Conservative or Reform who did not have a Jewish mother?) Anyways, it's a lot sexier than listening to a croaky guy. Wow, I can't believe I just wrote you such a long reply (surprise) you bring out the best in me, what can I say. <|:~} IZAK 06:47, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi "YaakovOfNY/yaakov of NY/Yaakov of NY": You are creating too much confusion for yourself and others as you now have at least TWO user names YaakovOfNY (talk · contribs) and Yaakov of NY (talk · contribs) so which is it? Stick to one user name please, or else you will just be violating Wikipedia's operating procedures and you may suspected of violating WP:VANDAL. Please try to correct this ASAP. Thanks, IZAK 14:11, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Sorry about all the confusion, as I mentioned before I didn't know what I was doing but this is my official name now: YaakovOfNY 19:32, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Hello, user:shirahadasha, once again, NO that can not be shapiros view, in my opinion. Only the first part of your statement accurately refelcts his view: "no-one, male or female, is personally obligated in Keriyat HaTorah". This is his view, and it accurately represents the mainstream halachik approach. That is why if ten men are already listening to the torah reading, the 11th man can technically read something else (though its not proper) b/c the community is fulfilling its obligation already. However, he does NOT rely on magen avraham to say, in your words, that women "form part of the community that has the communal obligation, and for both reasons, women are not less obligated". (Indeed, he could not credibly take this position as it is a rejected minority view). He instead concedes that men form the publicly obligated community for this purpose: "for this purpose a quorum of ten adult jewish males is obligated to provide a public reading" (shapiro, pg. 5) but argues that the general nature of the obligation allows anyone with a voice to fulfil it for them b/c all that is required of them is to hear words of torah, and women and children can be the agents that make those words heard. (Recall that children are not obligated, but can still fulfil the obligation). So rather than relying on considering women to be part of the obligated community, he takes the position that membership in that community should not be relivant to this issue. I think this is all rather clear in his piece. So once again, please update the article to reflect this, or ask shapiro himself if you want (if you know how to reach him), and im sure he'll tell you the same shabat shalom YaakovOfNY 19:47, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Hi! I don't think you ever replied to a comment I made above where I cited the following passage in R. Shapiro's article:
It is indeed true that the most serious halakhic obstacle to women’s participation in communal ritual life on an equal footing with men is the rule enunciated in Mishnah Rosh ha-Shanah (3:8): “This is the general principle: one who is not himself under obligation to perform a religious duty cannot perform it on behalf of a congregation.” For a variety of reasons of both general and specific application, women frequently are not invested with the same level of halakhic obligation as are men, and as a result cannot perform religious obligations on behalf of men. Nonetheless, it is clear that this principle cannot be applied to the case of qeri’at ha-Torah....A number of reasons can be suggested for why, according to the baraita, women are at least theoretically capable of performing qeri’at ha-Torah on behalf of men. The first is as suggested by R. Avraham Avli Gombiner in Magen Avraham...
I read this passage as indicating that R. Shapiro relied on the Magen Avraham to support his claim that women are halachically able to fulfill the obligation of keriyat haTorah on behalf of a congregation containing men. Do you disagree? Do you agree but believe the question of whether women are capable of doing this on behalf of men (but for Kavod HaTzibur) is not important to R. Shapiro's overall argument? Best, --Shirahadasha 00:37, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
I've been away for a while but just checked up on this page while surfing the net to discover the same error I discovered long ago is still there! I edited it once again. Basically, magen avraham is not relevant to R. Shapiro's main thesis, which is that whether or not women are obligated is not relevant since torah reading need not be led by one who is obligated (and so even a minor can read). This is really quite basic to his whole thesis. kol tuv YaakovOfNY 21:45, 4 September 2007 (UTC)


I almost put this up for AfD. While I support all the principles behind the idea of a partnership minyan, I am not sure if it is notable.

Google search for "Partnership Minyan"


Google search for "partnership minyan" -wiki -wikipedia -answers -blog -reference -blogspot -jewishblogging -wapedia -encyclopeedia -netipedia -spivo -tutorgig -jaime -jewess -homestayfinder -libraryoflibrary -arikah -entreaty -zdvolode -medbib -mbceo

Once all the wikipedia results (and blog mentions and wikipedia clones) are removed there are only 4 results. Two are from a JOFA website and one of them is from a wikipedia-clone that I couldn't exclude for some reason.

Google Scholar gives no results, as does Google books. Searching Google News Archives also gives no results.

It seems that all we have here is a form of worship that takes place in one shul in Katamon - Shira Hadasha. I would think that merging this into Shira Hadasha - without any loss of content would be a good idea. David Spart 20:14, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Your search is overly strict, for example the removal of the word "answers" forced out at least one non blog, non-Wiki entry [3] and I supsect some of the others would have similar results. JoshuaZ 20:18, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't think it overly strict - the article you link to is the fourth result - i.e. even if you remove answer it is still there, so you are innocrect. David Spart 20:25, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
What I mean to say is that it was not forced out by my strict search - which goes to evidence the fact that my search was not too strict. David Spart 20:26, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, didn't see it there. This is a good point. (Didn't we have an AfD of this article a while back?) JoshuaZ 20:29, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I dunno. I don't see one linked. David Spart 20:32, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
I can't locate one. A few weeks Izak went through and nommed a number articles related to the more progessive(more npov word? egalitarian?) end of modern orthdoxy. This one must have escaped for some reason. JoshuaZ 20:36, 6 March 2007 (UTC)


See this google search: "Shira Hadasha-style minyan" -wiki -answers -medbib -nationmaster -shortopedia -arikah -encyclopedia -ikiw -for the redirect/alternative name, has no recognitiion outside wikipedia whatsoever.

I don't think the one article that actually namechecks "partnership minyan" is a very notable source. All the stuuf I am reading on and in tradition magazine fails to refer to this particular type on minyan by name.

Most of the article seems to deal with egal minyans in general rather than this type in particular. David Spart 21:28, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Is the hyphen in "Shira Hadasha-style" really essential? --Shirahadasha 22:28, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Tried it without the hyphen it makes no difference. I think this should be merged into Shira Hadasha, ShiraHadasha. David Spart 22:39, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Try "shira hadasha minyan" and "partnership minyan". Not claiming there are a huge number of hits, only that there are enough articles and media reports to establish notability for a term that isn't limited to Shira Hadasha but includes a number -- more than one but perhaps two or three dozen -- of congregations and also, that there is a distinct, agreed-on type of service (not necessarily a distinct or agreed-on ideology or halachic methodology but a distinct, agreed-on type of service) that is both fairly standardized in what it does (sufficiently so to be encyclopedic) and notable. --Shirahadasha 00:44, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
I can't find any more non-trivial namechecks.


This article should be merged into the Shirachadasha article. Or merged into a more general article about egal minyanim. Is there one? But either way - most of the references seem to relate to egal minyanim in general. What are your thoughts people? David Spart 14:04, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Two issues on such a merger (1) The topic is separate from "egal minyan" in general. Many people who support egalitarian minyanim in the Conservative Judaism sense would not regard it as being "egal". A partnership minyan has many distinct gender roles in addition to having a mechitza. Only men can lead the core portions of Maariv, Shacharit, or Mussaf, have a Kohen or Levite aliyah, lead a reader's Kaddish, (female mourners can say mourner's kaddish and kaddish d'Rabbanan), say Hallel on certain major Jewish Holidays, blow the Shofar, or a variety of other functions. (Female leadership roles are limited to Kabbalat Shabbat, Pseukei D'Zimra, the Torah service on Shabbat, Hallel on e.g. Rosh Chodesh, and certain other functions and services). The minyan type claims to stretch Orthodox Halacha without breaking it. This is a totally different approach from the egal approach with very different results. (2) This specific minyan type -- as an Orthodox (or wanna-be Orthodox) minyan type and not an egal minyan type -- is discussed in a number of sources which don't also discuss Conservative-type egal minyanim, including Tamar Ross' book Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism, the September 20, 2002 Forward article "Gender Taboos Fall at New Orthodox Prayer Services" (apparently not at former web location but still available at least in print), the Jewish State article, and others. Best, --Shirahadasha 20:12, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

OK, on reflection, I think you are correct. This is a good and interesting article anyway. I supose if this type of minyan would not be accepted by conservatives that makes il-egal whereas the othodox might think it to be l-egal! David Spart 22:39, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Frimer article[edit]

The current summarization of the article reflects a unencyclopedic POV - it uses "points out" and other endorsement language that presents interpretations and opinions as fact. Also, it contains some basic errors that Rabbi Frimer almost certainly wouldn't make - the passage in Megilla 23a that Sperber relies on is a Beraita, not a Mishna as the summary text says, for example -- that a check to see if the summary reflects the source is in order. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 22:31, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Note that although blog entries are not normally reliable sources, Rabbi Frimer is a noted authority on the subject of Halakha and women, and I believe a blog entry by him is an appropriate exception to the rule. --Shirahadasha (talk) 22:35, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Rewrote the section, attempting to use a more neutral tone while emphasizing what Frimer called his most important arguments. Best, --Shirahadasha (talk) 23:32, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

Kevod terms[edit]

We might want consistent spelling of kevod ha-Tzibur and ha-Briyot (or bb yy etc). Are we allowed to change the transliteration within quotations? Or perhaps we could use the English equivalents more often for our general readership?

Also, shouldn't there be an article for kevod ha-Tzibur? Thanks. HG | Talk 13:30, 21 August 2008 (UTC)