Saturday, February 20, 2010

Israel: Women's Prayer Quorum

From Ynet News (Israel News):
Women's prayer quorum during the Purim holiday have become in recent years a widespread phenomenon in many religious communities in Israel, but a new Jewish ruling considers them illegal and forbidden.

Chief Ramat Gan Rabbi Yaakov Ariel stated that "to begin with, forming a women's prayer quorum is against the Halacha," and accused the participating women of withdrawing from society on the basis of "social and feminist considerations".

Rabbi Ariel, who is one of the leaders of Religious Zionism and a senior arbiter, warned against the phenomenon Thursday during an interview with Arutz Sheva (Channel Seven) and claimed the it is "not right" and "forbidden."

According to Ariel, "it's good that women want to be involved, but if a woman wants to be more god-fearing and pray in a quorum – she should do so in a men's quorum. The Torah did not command women to pray in a quorum," he added.

Religious women's organization Kolech criticized Rabbi Ariel's ruling. A spokeswoman for the organization told Ynet: "The Halacha states that a woman may fulfill the duty of prayer for another woman. The same ruling was also stated in the Shulchan Aruch (book of religious law from the Rabbi Yosef Karo), by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and more.

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