November 22, 2013

Orthodox, Separate and Almost Equal

The partnership minyan phenomenon, marked by its liberal inclusion of women in leading prayer, is proving highly contentious and increasingly popular — a veritable Jewish revolution

Member of Beersheba's Kehilat Be'erot praying. (photo credit: courtesy)

We are waiting, the wind blowing as the sun sets too early on this November Friday night in Kfar Adumim. We congregate next to this small Judean Desert community’s dusty multipurpose mobile home, used for anything from piano lessons to yoga to small gatherings.

A man arrives, freshly showered. ”You’re number six,” he’s told, and he sits to chat with his neighbors. Waiting.
Inside the caravan, a makeshift synagogue is ready. With an aron kodesh and lectern at the head, an almost transparent mehitza divides the room equally into men’s and women’s sections. On the far side from the door sit a few men and children, on the other side a few women and children.
Even if the women were counted in this minyan — which they are not — there’s no help with the quorum to be found on their side.

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