Riverdale Shul To Have Woman Lead Kabbalat Shabbat

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From the Jewish Week (link):

Riverdale Orthodox Shul To Have Woman Lead Kabbalat Shabbat Tonight
Friday, July 30, 2010
Staff Report

In a move that apparently would make history for an Orthodox synagogue in the United States, the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale is scheduled Friday night to have a woman lead a Kabbalat Shabbat service where both men and women are expected to be in the pews.

A one-page e-mail letter was sent Friday morning to members of the synagogue, which is led by Rabbi Avi Weiss. The rabbi was recently embroiled in a major controversy over assigning the title Rabba to an HIR spiritual leader, Sara Hurwitz. The letter states: “Kabbalat Shabbat will be led by a woman. This is a halachically acceptable practice, and models our values.” While some Orthodox synagogues have women’s tefillah groups, a woman leading a Friday-night service for both men and women has apparently not been done in an Orthodox shul.

Traditional interpretation of Jewish law bars women from such a public role in the prayer service for various reasons.

The letter to congregants seems to anticipate controversy. “We recognize that this type of tefillah is not practiced in other Orthodox synagogues. We hope other synagogues will make room for this type of inclusive tefillah. Nonetheless, in deference to our own inclusive values beyond women’s involvement, and not wanting to distance ourselves from the Orthodox communal standards, we are not having this tefillah as our only Friday night tefillah, but as an addition to the Main Sanctuary tefillah.”

The letter, in making a halachic justification for a woman leading a Kabbalat Shabbat service, says that in such a service “no distinctions are made between men’s and women’s involvement,” and that it “is not an obligatory prayer service and contains no devarim shebikdushah (liturgical elements like Barkhu and Kedushah which have male leaders).”

The move to have a woman, Lamelle Ryman, lead a Kabbalat service, comes about three months after the Rabba controversy, in which Rabbi Weiss was widely believed to have caved to Orthodox critics who termed the title Rabba to be beyond Orthodox norms. Rabbi Weiss agreed to not use the title again.

Calls and e-mails to HIR Rabbis Weiss, Steven Exler and Hurwitz early Friday afternoon were not returned. A call to Ryman was not returned.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, 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.

61 comments

  1. when will the OU oust this renegade shul?

  2. I think the article should have said “formerly Orthodox shul”, or “once Orthodox shul”.

    Forget the OU; what about the RCA?

  3. I’m expecting the usual ritual condemnations of R. Weiss to flow forth in this comment thread. And they usually pain me.

    As a mitpellel in HIR for several years, I gained an appreciation for what R. Weiss is trying to accomplish in his shul. Though some of the changes at HIR were new to me, having grown up in a large NY YI shul, I was able to ignore the pesolet and keep the ochel.

    This, however, LAN”D, is too far. I’m not sure what to make of this news, and I’m looking forward to reading halachic justifications from R. Linzer and perhaps R. Helfgot. I’d also be interested in Dr. Hall’s thoughts as a long time HIR mitpallel.

    The possibility of a true schism within MO is now more than a possibility. It’s a probability. And it’s a shame.

  4. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing new or interesting here to see. What RAW is attempting is just one more degree out of the mainstream than previously and there will be plenty more to follow. It’s not a slippery slope that he’s on but a conscious downward trajectory which leads right into Conservative-land.
    The pity is on his followers who are too naive and jaded to appreciate the direction he’s really headed in. I’m sure that Charlie Hall will soon provide us a few historical instances of women leading KS somewhere in Amsterdam in the mid-1600’s and that will serve as proof of how correct it is but the facts remain as clear as day.

  5. R Gil-Like it or not, as depicted in the recent NY Magazine article, the spiritual head of HIR unfortunately likes playing the role of a martyr in which he claims that he is being persecuted both by the Charedi world and their allies or Charedi wannabees in the MO, RIETS and OU worlds for taking revolutionary and radical positions. Tonight is just another case in point. I do believe that events such as tonight, which lack even less quasi halachic backing that Ms Hurwitz’s being granted some sort of degree will make many wonder whether they would feel comfortable davening at HIR.

  6. Acc. to Wikipedia, HIR was founded in 1971.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Institute_of_Riverdale

    This חזנית should have Kavana about her own shul when singing:

    ארבעים שנה אקוט בדור ואמר עם תעי לבב הם והם לא ידעו דרכי

  7. Lamelle Ryman, tonight’s ba’alat tefillah, expresses some interesting perspectives on her personal website, particularly on this sub-page:
    http://www.journeymama.net/unplanned.htm

  8. @Moshe, WADR, the focus should not be unrelated issues concerning the specific baalat tefillah. It should be on the question of having a baalat tefillah at all.

  9. YSH:

    Perhaps.

    However, I wonder whether this phenomenon should be seen in its broader context, of perhaps lowering more than one bar in one’s zeal to advance an agenda.

    My question is more directed toward the prime mover, rather than the chess pieces, who are most likely very wonderful people.

  10. Shalom Rosenfeld

    The Rabbi Rakeffet quote:

    “There’s a young, reasonably attractive woman up there leading the davening, and she’s having kavana and swaying with it; where are you looking? If you’re looking at her, you’re not a Jew; if you’re looking at your siddur, you’re not a man!”

  11. Did anyone see the original letter? Does R’ Weiss say anything in it about Kol Isha?

  12. I am psyched by the fact that he is just not giving up. If all Modern Orthodox Rabbis would stand up to the Haredim and the RWMO (not necessarily about women per se but about other things)it would create space for diversity within a Halachic framework. This is not a move towards conservatism. Rabbi Weiss is clearly looking to push the envelope to the very edge without going over it. We need more Rabbi’s who are willing to stand up and be counted. Amen.

  13. The only thing I can say in defence of Rabbi Weiss is that he demonstrated some degree of common sense by sending a letter of warning in advance to the congregants.
    Though Rabbi Weiss may be able to provide Halachic opinions that permit such davening, it is definitely not a current minhag.
    Is one permitted to introduce a new minhag, especially one so controversial, when one can predict with almost absolute certainty that it will not be adopted by other Halachic Poskim and Torah-observant Jews?
    It seems to me this is a defiant political act rather than a religious one.

  14. Here’s a link to the letter:
    http://www.hir.org/forms_2010/additionalks.pdf

    It does, in fact, address Kol Isha:

    Kol Ishah (A Woman’s Voice)
    This topic has been analyzed and reanalyzed in contemporary times, and halakhic attitudes regarding men hearing
    women’s voices vary widely. We will study this topic together in the coming months for those who wish to deepen
    their understanding of it. For now, two relevant points can clarify how this affects our tefillah:
    1) A number of halakhic sources point out that (based on sources as early as the Talmud) kol ishah is not a
    concern where women are chanting in a liturgical context
    2) From the Talmud to medieval sources through contemporary writers, a common thread regarding questions
    of women’s voice have seen this in a contextual light: in a setting which is modest where the singing is in a
    modest and respectful fashion, the kol ishah prohibition does not obtain. A compelling analysis in this
    regard was recently written by R’ David Bigman, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Maale Gilboa, and may be seen
    here: http://www.jewishideas.org/rabbi-david-bigman/new-analysis-kol-bisha-erva

    I’ll leave it to others to evaluate this.

  15. As far as I’m concerned,never mind about a woman leading it, Kabbalat Shabbat itself is an innovation! Whatever next?

  16. YSH:

    My point was not to criticize the ba’alat tefillah or to judge her. I just found it quite striking the extent to which her discussion on the merits or demerits of elective abortion was lacking in any attempt to grapple with — or even vaguely reflect — the perspective of halacha on this matter (even its most lenient positions).

    It would therefore seem to me that it is somewhat disingenuous to argue that one is acting within the halachic system om certain issues and with full halachic commitment, but failing to consider the halacha on matters that are far more severe.

    Ultimately, this is not a criticism of this young woman (who I’m sure doesn’t know any better) but of her Rabbi and Rabba, who perhaps need to consider whether they are projecting a vision of the supremacy of halacha and our need to subordinate ourselves to it.

    I therefore feel that it’s kind of silly to judge the decisions made in that shul regarding women Rabbis and women ba’alei tefillah by the standards of those who advocate and assume (as a given) halachic commitment.

  17. Perhaps we can uphold ideological judgments regarding what is “Orthodox” and what is not. This constant need to determine that which is and that which isn’t seems rather infantile. If you don’t like what Rabbi Weiss is doing please do not go to his shul.

  18. MiMedinat HaYam

    what did you expect — this has the prior approval of the rca.

    they a: knew he was going to do this when they “compromised” with him on the rabba issue.

    if the didnt know this, they were b: negligent. or c: foolish.

    pick a, b, or c.

    i say a.

  19. “Shalom Rosenfeld on July 30, 2010 at 4:07 pm
    The Rabbi Rakeffet quote:

    “There’s a young, reasonably attractive woman up there leading the davening, and she’s having kavana and swaying with it; where are you looking? If you’re looking at her, you’re not a Jew; if you’re looking at your siddur, you’re not a man!””
    That quote should apply to people like Rebetzzen Jungreiss who certainly spoke before men for decades-Hineini-. Of course she is chareidi so thats OK.

    “Rabbi Weiss is clearly looking to push the envelope” Does the sun rise in the east? Thats what RAW has been doiing for decades.

    “It seems to me this is a defiant political act rather than a religious one.” Agree but of course that IMHO is what drives RAW-he is an “activist”

    ” spiritual head of HIR unfortunately likes playing the role of a martyr in which he claims that he is being persecuted both by the Charedi world and their allies or Charedi wannabees in the MO, RIETS and OU worlds for taking revolutionary and radical positions.”
    Agreed

    “Tonight is just another case in point. I do believe that events such as tonight, which lack even less quasi halachic backing that Ms Hurwitz’s”
    One can make technical halchik arguments for a women being permitted to daven Kabalat Shabbat-it is not a tefila -a kid can do it-or a monkey can. Certainly,IMHO it is easier than having a women laying megillah for men.I believe a respected Rabbi otherwise-attempted to do that at a minyan of a leading campus-eg hint looking for veritas. Of course, the issue is not technical halacha -it is that no one has done it since Kabbalat Shabbos was invented-that should be the end of the story.

  20. Shalom Rosenfeld on July 30, 2010 at 4:07 pm
    The Rabbi Rakeffet quote:

    “There’s a young, reasonably attractive woman up there leading the davening, and she’s having kavana and swaying with it; where are you looking? If you’re looking at her, you’re not a Jew; if you’re looking at your siddur, you’re not a man!”
    “There’s a young, reasonably attractive woman up there leading the davening, and she’s having kavana and swaying with it; where are you looking? If you’re looking at her, you’re not a Jew; if you’re looking at your siddur, you’re not a man!”

    My response to Rabbi Rakeffet:

    What nonsense! I’m a sixty-one-year-old Jewish female, and I’ve been listening to *male* cantors/chazzanim for the better part of six decades. So what if they’re of the opposite gender? I’ll grant you that the usually-higher-pitched voice of a female singer may take some getting used, but you could get used to it *if* you wanted to. But all you have to say is ” If you’re looking at her, you’re not a Jew; if you’re looking at your siddur, you’re not a man!” What do you think this is, the Jewish version of a machismo (masculinity) contest? Do you truly think that the only way to prove that you’re a “real man” is to treat a woman as “all sex object, all the time”? Keep your eyes on the siddur/prayer book, where they belong! I manage to keep my eyes on the siddur every time I go to synagogue (which, for the record, is every Shabbat/Sabbath and Yom Tov/major holiday, not to mention Purim and Tisha B’Av), and I see no reason not to hold you to the same standard!

  21. 30 years ago, Bat Mitzvah’s were something that many people thought not halachic- people are used to them now. I’m sure some people found Halackhic reasons it was acceptable, while others who didn’t like them found reasons it was not acceptable. The same reasons now exist for this and in 30 years it will be a nonissue

  22. Charles B. Hall

    “Acc. to Wikipedia, HIR was founded in 1971.”

    That is incorrect. The official legal name of the congregation is still the Hebrew Institute of University Heights, which was founded in the 1920s. The congregation moved to Riverdale in 1971 and hired Rabbi Weiss in 1973.

  23. Charles B. Hall

    “One can make technical halchik arguments for a women being permitted to daven Kabalat Shabbat-it is not a tefila -a kid can do it-or a monkey can.”

    Without me even asking a shilah, my rav (who has no affiliation with HIR) told me two years ago that it was mutar.

  24. Charles B. Hall

    “As far as I’m concerned,never mind about a woman leading it, Kabbalat Shabbat itself is an innovation! Whatever next?”

    Indeed! Since chadash asur min ha Torah, we must reject this recent innovation and start all Friday night services with Mizmor Shir l’Yom HaShabat. We must also expel from the OU any shul that says a tefillah for the United States Government which after all is even more recent. Kal V’Chomer the Zionist regime in Eretz Yisrael.

  25. Charles B. Hall

    “I’d also be interested in Dr. Hall’s thoughts as a long time HIR mitpallel.”

    See above; I’m not sure I’m entitled to have my own opinion if my rav has spoken clearly on the matter. In any case, I davened Kabalat Shabat and Maariv at HIR Friday night in the main sanctuary (both services led by a man) and don’t see any reason to stop.

    “I’m sure that Charlie Hall will soon provide us a few historical instances of women leading KS somewhere in Amsterdam in the mid-1600′s”

    I’m unaware of any.

  26. Charles B. Hall

    HIR is one of the few O shuls I’ve visited where women turn out in large numbers for the regular Friday night service, and indeed sing and dance. The service, which features Carlebach nigunim, is very beautiful and inspiring.

  27. Charles B. Hall

    “Rabbi Weiss is clearly looking to push the envelope to the very edge without going over it. ”

    About three years ago I was at a weekday morning minyan at HIR, except that it wasn’t quite a minyan yet: We had nine guys. There was also a woman there who was planning to say Kaddish for a parent. One of the other guys dug up an opinion from Rabbeinu Tam that would appear to allow a woman to count as the tenth person in a minyan if there were nine men present. Rabbi Weiss was there and refused to allow it; the woman had to wait until a tenth man arrived before he permitted her to say Kaddish.

  28. Give him time, Charlie.

    In fact, give him a few months. I don’t care what’s muttar or not; the fact that R’ Weiss seems to be racing to do as many outrageous (in the original sense of the word) things in as short amount of time as possible is very, very suspicious. He hires women as congregational interns (or whatever). Small tumult. A few years later, “maharat.” Larger tumult. He’s not happy. So within- what, a few months? A year? We’ve got a “Rabbah.” And the to-do has not even begun to die down when he does this.

    I mean, come on. It took the Reform movement almost a hundred years to ordain its first female Rabbi. Ditto the Conservatives. What’s his idea here?

  29. His idea is to make history. I think that the more centrist and right wing mo can’t just sneer and pretend that this is not their problem. When religion is more about going through the motions and learning about the technicalities of observances and less about God, then it is just a matter of time before you get HIR people saying that where there is a halachik will there is a halachik way. The community at large needs to rethink what the term “kabbalos ol” really indicates.

  30. These people, notwithstanding the fact that they identify as Orthodox and are basically shomer mitzvos, see Yiddishkeit as a culture and not as a religion. This is like unthinking Reconstructionist Judaism. Otherwise, it would be obvious to them that if you really want to do what God wants, you should consult with the experts – people who actually know Torah – talmidei chachamim. Just like when you want good health care you consult with a knowledgeable doctor. The fact that they are just doing what is “yashar b’eyneyhem” shows that they don’t really care about ratzon Hashem. They care about living within their liberal comfort zones with Jewish “traditions” as cute accessories.

  31. “They care about living within their liberal comfort zones with Jewish “traditions” as cute accessories.”

    It’s only fair to qualify who “they” are. R’ Weiss himself, I am sure, sees himself as doing what is necessary within the bounds of halacha to attract marginally committed people to Torah. That is a worthy goal, even if the implementation is flawed. As for the marginally committed people, yes that is a fundamental problem. But we should not forget that all Orthodox communities, even the most right-wing, contain many marginally committed people. If anything, it reflects well on R’ Weiss’ crowd that their non-halachic goals are things like dignity for women, rather than profit through monetary fraud.

    That said, more and more I cannot identify a difference between R’ Weiss’s “halachic” practices and the Conservative movement’s “halachic” practices. Either both should be acceptable or both shouldn’t. And our position on the Conservative movement is quite clear, and there seems to be no compelling reason to adjust it right now.

  32. Regarding the Halakhic issues, see: “Partnership Minyanim,” Aryeh A. Frimer and Dov I. Frimer, “Text and Texture” of the Rabbinical Council of America (May 23, 2010); available online at http://text.rcarabbis.org/?p=909.

  33. steve mcqueen

    Is the HIR a member of the RCA or some such organisation? And if so, will there be a move to expel it? I am sure that a shul that served lobster at a kiddush or allowed a woman to daven mussaf could not stay affiliated, so are we heading for a definitive ruling on this issue? It is pretty interesting because all the Shirah Hadasha type shuls have deliberately operated outside of mainstream rabbinic approvals/ organisations leaving it easy to turn a blind eye. So now we have the next level, because if an experienced O rabbi permits it, and the shul/ rabbi can stay in some organisation, it will spread pretty quickly.

  34. It’s interesting to note that many congregations consider it acceptable to have a child lead Kabbalat Shabbat. There is precedent for treating kabbalat shabbat differently from the other prayers.

  35. Jewish Ideas Daily,
    Kindly read the article I just posted [http://text.rcarabbis.org/?p=909] and you’ll see why leading poskim disagree with your assumption.

  36. Did the letter truly not relate to the issue of kol isha? This sounds a lot like the conservative teshuvos that looked at driving on Shabbat without considering the combustion in the motor.

  37. Mycroft-There are many in the charedi and NR communities who thought that Rebbitzin Jungreis’s ministry was weird and even repugnant,although AFAIK she didn’t sing in front of men.
    Charles B. Hall-I would be very interested in knowing the identity of the Rav who gave the hetter for a woman to get up in front of a group of men and sing.

  38. R. Frimer,

    Where in the article do you discuss Kabbalat Shabbat? I only see a discussion of leyning and having an aliyah.

  39. Dear Richard

    I cite below four paragraphs from the section entitled: “Kevod haTsibbur and Partnership Minyanim.” Kabbalat Shabbat is in the second paragraph.

    Kevod haTsibbur and Partnership Minyanim

    Now here comes our central point! This understanding of kevod ha-tsibbur clearly applies to the vast majority of innovations in Partnership Minyanim. While women are welcome, even encouraged to attend shul, they are not obligated to maintain a properly functioning minyan in their community. They are not obligated in minyan attendance, nor in tefilla be-tsibbur nor in keri’at haTorah nor in any other public prayer rituals – which we do as a tsibbur.

    Having women lead such public rituals would at least be a violation of kevod ha-tsibbur – according to either of its possible definitions. The zilzul ha-mitsvah view of kevod ha-tsibbur maintains that since it is the men who ARE obligated in public prayer rituals, they should be the ones fulfilling them – not women who are NOT at all obligated. The source and nature of this obligation is not critical. It may be biblical, rabbinic, custom or mitsva min ha-muvhar. The recitation of the megillot, kaballat Shabbat and certainly pesukei de-zimra in shul – is a long standing communal minhag of at least hundreds of years. Indeed, R. Saadya Gaon holds that the role of the shaliah tsibbur begins before pesukei de-zimra, and that is our minhag. In a shul context, it is the men who are obligated in performing and running public prayer. To have women fulfill these communal obligations would reveal that the men-folk do not value their halakhic responsibilities and obligations, and that is a serious issue of zilzul or bizayon ha-mitsva. Again there is no kevod ha-tsibbur by a katan because of Hinukh.

    The Tsniut School, on the other hand, argues that because of possible sexual distraction, women should not unnecessarily be at the center of any communal religious ritual. By contrast, birkat ha-gomel and even Kaddish yetoma are individual obligations done in a minyan. Reciting Kiddush after shul can be viewed as fulfilling ones personal obligation in the presence of many; but its not part of the public prayer ritual – hence kevod ha-tsibbur is not relevant

    We note that the correctness of the above analysis, that the practices of Partnership Minyanim violate kevod ha-tsibbur, has been confirmed by Moreinu veRabbenu R. Aharon Lichtenstein and the noted posek R. Moshe Mordechai Karp, she-yibadlu le-hayyim tovim ve-arukim.

  40. Thanks, I missed it because of the transliteration of קבלת שבת employed.

  41. Rebbetzin Jungreis certainly never leads tefillah. You can have any opinion you want on kol isha, but the line certainly gets drawn at tefillah.

    I’m a member of a musical theater group here in Jerusalem. Clearly, none of the members (many- most, perhaps- are religious) have a strong issue with kol isha in that context. (Nor, indeed, do some of my former rebbeim who I’ve seen in the audience.) And yet the cast and crew davens Maariv at every rehearsal, Mincha before every show, Maariv at every intermission. We’ve never had a woman lead. There’s the line.

    R’ Frimer, “kavod hatzibur” is especially apropos when one considers what has happened to the Reform and Conservative movements recently. Oh, liberal men can be as “liberated” as they want. But at a certain point, they’re going to stop coming to a female-dominated shul, and stop attending female-dominated seminaries. Those are the facts of life.

    I still find it really hard to belief that R’ Weiss is some sort of naif here. So many things in such a short period of time, he’s provoking. He was provoking when he dressed up in a tallit outside of Auschwitz all those years ago, and, having run out of Polish anti-Semites to attack, he’s still provoking.

  42. David Tzohar –
    “Mycroft-There are many in the charedi and NR communities who thought that Rebbitzin Jungreis’s ministry was weird and even repugnant,although AFAIK she didn’t sing in front of men.”

    That is 100% correct. Growing up, I vividly recall Rebbetzin Jungreis being rather distant from mainstream Hareidi acceptance. It’s only in recent years that she’s moved in to some degree in part due to a general blurring of the lines, her own slight move to the right, an appreciation of her age and life accomplishments, and the influx of BT’s into Hareidi society. To cite her as proof that it’s okay to lead a prayer service of any kind is downright nonsensical and displays a lack of awareness of the subject.

  43. I remember once questioning one of my rabbeim on an issue and his response was “sometimes you just have to have a sense of things”. While I never loved this response, I can now say that I have identified a case where I clearly see its application.
    KT

  44. “Jewish Ideas Daily on August 1, 2010 at 4:31 am
    It’s interesting to note that many congregations consider it acceptable to have a child lead Kabbalat Shabbat. There is precedent for treating kabbalat shabbat differently from the other prayers.

    Aryeh Frimer on August 1, 2010 at 5:16 am
    Jewish Ideas Daily,
    Kindly read the article I just posted [http://text.rcarabbis.org/?p=909] and you’ll see why leading poskim disagree with your assumption”

    Look there are poskim eg the Rav who was opposed to kids leading ein kelokeinu etc-but the accepted custom appears to let that happen. Certainly there are mainline schuls like Nitzanim in Jerusalem where a child can lead kabbalat Shabbat-adult leads Maariv.
    Kabalat Shabbat is not Tafilah.

    “I still find it really hard to belief that R’ Weiss is some sort of naif here. So many things in such a short period of time, he’s provoking. He was provoking when he dressed up in a tallit outside of Auschwitz all those years ago, and, having run out of Polish anti-Semites to attack, he’s still provoking.”
    Agree-the essence of RAW is probably provoking.

    “The Tsniut School, on the other hand, argues that because of possible sexual distraction, women should not unnecessarily be at the center of any communal religious ritual.”

    How about a 12 year old girl speaking in front of a schul at her bat mitzvah.

  45. Besides the break with tradition, where did the prohibition
    of Kol Isha go?
    Did anyone she the disgusting picyure of Mizvensky wearing
    a prayer shal while marrying a shiksa?

  46. MiMedinat HaYam

    kabalat shabat is NOT tfilah. (what is it? i dont know. but my shul / many shuls specifically daven from the bima and go to the amud for barchu, etc, for this reason. i think its in shulchan aruch, xcept kabalat shabat is not SA.) thus pre bar mitzvah, etc.

    2. kol ish is not ervah, not nothing. (esp some of these lousy chazzanim)

  47. R. S. Riskin’s shul in Efrat almost always has a child lead KS.

  48. Michael Rogovin

    When I was in Israel, the sephardi minyan I sometimes attended recited kabbalat shabbat by having congregants taking turns with each tehilla. It was not led by a shaliach tzibur at all. I wonder if under those circumstances it constitutes tefila and thus the concerns raised in Dr Frimer’s article apply or not. If not, then perhaps anyone could participate in reciting the tehilot, including women. Still, AFAIK, it has not been done.

  49. Thinking about this some more over Shabbat, I am more and more convinced that the biggest problem confronting Torah-observant Jews is not the status of homosexuals or gender-neutral liturgical innnovations.

    The biggest problem is that certain kannaim in EY, primarily affiliated with the Eidah hachareidis, continue to achieve incremental advance after incremental advance in their effort to delegitimize any other Jew, frum or not. And they’re using the structures of the State they don’t even recognize to do it.

    The various streams of MO as well as those to the right (both in chu”l and EY) should focus on uniting to confront this. Or eventually 90% of yeshivish/frum/Orthodox/observant/choose your label/etc Jews won’t be able to prove their Jewish ancestry to the satisfaction of the powers that be. Ignore this problem and none of the other issues will matter.

    -Y

  50. “Thinking about this some more over Shabbat, I am more and more convinced that the biggest problem confronting Torah-observant Jews is not the status of homosexuals or gender-neutral liturgical innnovations.

    The biggest problem is that certain kannaim in EY, primarily affiliated with the Eidah hachareidis, continue to achieve incremental advance after incremental advance in their effort to delegitimize any other Jew, frum or not. And they’re using the structures of the State they don’t even recognize to do it.”

    Worth thinking about-and sadly wo the Rav to lead the RCA-the RCA has fallen back on its duty to protect the Jews of their schuls.

  51. L’halakha, a minor can lead Musaf as well. Is that next for the a-gi-ta-tors of HIR?

  52. I ask all those interested in the Halakhic issues not to comment on this innovation until they READ the article I posted [http://text.rcarabbis.org/?p=909]. VERY briefly: If in a particular communal ritul there is no need to be motsi others, then even one not obligated can in theory lead. However, there is a consideration of kevod haTsibbur (understood as Tsni’ut or zilzul haMitsva). Nevertheless, in the case of a male minor this can be set aside because of Hinukh considerations, not applicable by women.

  53. Aryeh – thanks, read the article. Still not convinced that you can equate kabbalat shabbat with torah reading and hallel.

  54. Arnie Lustiger

    I wonder if HIR will serve chicken and milk at the oneg Shabbos.

  55. Another stunt to get attention, as if some new one was needed.

  56. Lawrence Kaplan

    I am interested in the issue of procsss. Let us grant Rabbi Weiss’ claim that a woman leading Kabbalat Shabbat is mutar. But still, it is a change in the synagogu’es tradition, it exposes the shul to criticism, etc. At this point, the question becomes a matter of policy as to whether the congregation should act on R. Weiss’ pesak. Was this decison arrived at by the Congregation, say the ritual committee? (Is there such a committee?) Or did R. Weiss act unilaterally?

  57. I’m interested in the process whereby a rabbi endorses this, regardless of who else was involved.

  58. Larry Kaplan-IIRC, R Weiss was quoted in the NYJW as stating that “process” is not one of his strongest virtues or attributes.

  59. MiMedinat HaYam

    “Michael Rogovin on August 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm
    When I was in Israel, the sephardi minyan I sometimes attended recited kabbalat shabbat by having congregants taking turns with each tehilla. ”

    isnt that what carlebach minyanim do? (actually, no leading; just pure communal singing)

  60. Although living in Israel, I am not well-informed abouth the people and organizations involved in these supposedly “Orthodox” innovations, but, looking from the outside, what I see is an attempt to create a new form of Conservative Judaism. The currently existing Conservative Movement is fizzling out and has pretty much lost its identity, which at one time was based on a strong attachment to Jewish tradition with some flexibility in how the synagogue was run and not too many demands made on congregants in order for them to remain in good standing with the community. However, with the C Movement’s leadership seeming under endless pressure to conform to the latest “progressive” values, this “conservatism” which used to characterize the movement has vanished and it is now pretty much indistinguishable from Reform and Reconstructionism.

    This, however is leaving a vacuum. For reasons that I don’t really understand, today it is very IN for people who in the past didn’t identify strongly with the Jewish people to now claim they are Jews, that they are Religious and that they are Zionists, even if they really are none of these things.
    Thus, President Obama has an annual Pesach Seder, his Jewish advisors have a weekly Shabbat Kiddush and meal accompanyied by Shabbat Zemirot and Niggunim, Chelsea Clinton’s new Groom insists on having a Rabbi preside (along with a Christian minister) at his intermarriage and he even wears a tallit, and many Israel bashers such as those affiliated with J-Street will claim they are Zionists while they call for Israel to be boycotted and attacked in international forums.

    Given this, there is no doubt people who in the past may have identified with the existing Conservative movement but who have been turned off by its anemic current state, and want a more “religious” or “traditional” type of synagogue service and rituals (what others may call “mitzvot”) but who do NOT accept what we consider to be Orthodox “doctrine” or traditionally understood and accepted.

    Thus, I feel that innovations of these type will continue, they will attract new people, just as the Reform and Conservative movements did in the 19th and 20th centuries, they will seem to thrive for a while, and then they will fade out. Nothing to get excited about, this is the way modern Jewish history works. Those of us who oppose these innovations should not get hysterical about it , we should just stand firm and allow history to take its course. The traditional halachic system will stand up to the challenge and will come out on top in the end, as it always has in the past (as was the case in the conflicts with the Sadducees, the Essenes, the Karaites, the Judeo-Christians, and the old-line Reform and Conservative movements).

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