Sephardic Attitudes to Women’s Prayer Groups

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Jacob Katz asked: “Has Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, or any of the other sefardic halakhists of our time, written anything about Women’s Prayer Groups?”

I found the following prohibiting sources in Rabbis Aryeh and Dov Frimer’s article Women’s Prayer Services – Theory and Practice:

R. Shalom Messas, Resp. Shemesh uMagen, II, sec. 28; R. Mordechai Eliyahu in an unpublished responsum, dated 19 Kislev 5750 (Dec. 17, 1989).

I thought that R. Yitzhak Yosef addressed this issue in his Yalkut Yosef, perhaps in volume 2, but I did not find reference to it in the Frimer article or in my brief notes on the subject (but he does prohibit calling women to the Torah, a la R. Mendel Shapiro, in ch. 135 par. 41).

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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