Wednesday, April 27, 2011

No questions asked, etc.

Years ago, the Ritual Committee of our local synagogue turned down an excellent candidate for the position of High Holiday cantor because he wanted to commute from home, which was not within walking distance by any stretch of the imagination (or by any stretch of the legs, either).

Now, when our regular cantor is under the weather, we bring in female cantors who are clearly commuting from outside the community. No one gets upset about having a woman lead the matbeiah shel tefillah (required parts of the service), including d'varim sheh-b'k'dushah (prayers that can only be recited with a minyan), and no one asks how they got there.

But they still won't give our guest cantors an aliyah. They don't care that she's commuting. They just care that she's a she.

If you're looking for halachic logic, don't bother--there isn't any.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find this odd from an Orthodox perspective, because from the the standard point of view of Orthodox understanding of halacha, it is a way bigger deal to let a women lead services than it is to give her an aliyah. In fact, if you look at the development of egalitarianism in the Conservative movement, in most syngagogues, women were allowed aliyot long before they were counted in a minyan or allowed to lead services.

Wed Apr 27, 09:45:00 AM 2011  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"Odd" is a pretty good description. I agree (though I'm not sure every Orthodox rabbi would concur) that having a woman lead service (or, at least, the matbeiah) is a much bigger deal than giving a woman an aliyah, from the perspective of halachah (Jewish religious law). (My guess is that the debates on women leading *non*-matbeiah parts of the service, such as Kabbalat Shabbat and P'sukei D'Zimrah, will probably continue for another few decades.)

In our current synagogue, the biggest deals were (a) allowing a woman to read English prayers *from the bimah* as opposed to from her seat, (b) allowing woman to do Hebrew-language readings such as Ashrei, and (c) allowing women to chant haftarot. Not until we ran out of men did we start counting women as part of a minyan. Honestly, at this point, I'm not even sure that our shul will survive long enough to start giving women aliyot for lack of men.

Wed Apr 27, 10:12:00 AM 2011  

Post a Comment

<< Home

<< List
Jewish Bloggers
Join >>