Author Archives: Deborah Greniman

Deborah Greniman

About Deborah Greniman

Deborah Greniman is Managing Editor (and initiator) of Nashim: A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender Issues, published by the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, the Hadassah-Brandeis Institute and Indiana University Press. She is also Senior Editor of English-language publications at the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and an occasional writer and translator. She and her spouse, Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann, are founding members of Kehillat Yedidya in Jerusalem. They have four adult children, all still living near enough to gather at the Shabbat table, and a grandson.

When a Woman Leads Services, A Community Struggles With Its Identity

shutterstock_103774169Recently, the Ritual Committee of my congregation, Kehillat Yedidya in Jerusalem, asked its members whether we might occasionally allow Kabbalat Shabbat to be led by a woman. The question, spurred by requests from the daughters of several members and raised at a specially convened and very well-attended Seudah Shelishit before Rosh Hashanah, has set off a lively debate in the community, at times bordering on acrimonious.

People have threatened to leave the community if this change is adopted, or suggested that those in favor of it go elsewhere if that is what they want to do. Even the left–right political debates that have occasionally wracked our community have rarely been so divisive. Where it comes to politics, people want the other side to shut up; Where it comes to the debate over Kabbalat Shabbat, they want them to leave.

In a community like ours that pioneered the lengthwise partition and the customs of passing the Torah through the women’s section, women dancing with the Torah on the holiday of Simhat Torah, women’s Torah readings, women standing before the whole community to give divrei Torah and read the Megillot, and girls singing Shirat Hakavod, why is this particular question so divisive? Continue reading

Posted on November 14, 2013

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