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September 21, 1973 - Image 45

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1973-09-21

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Minyan-ation for Women

FOR . . .


Conservative Judaism move-
ment's decision to count
women in a minyan was
hailed by Mrs. Henry Rappa-
port, president of the Na-
tional Women's League of the
United Synagogue of Amer-
ica. She noted that the move
reflected the current thinking
of the Women's League. She
cited an opinion poll taken at
its 1972 convention in which
54 per cent favored counting
women with 34 per cent op-
posed and 12 per cent un-
"The thinking which im-
pelled the Rabbinical Assem-
bly's committee (on Jewish
'w and standards) to take
.is action is based, I believe,
in part on the experience of
some of our deeply commit-
ted and devoted women con-
gregants," Mrs. Rappaport
said. "Many have told us of
the shattering feelings they
have experienced when, as
mourners for a beloved de-
parted relative, they have
come into the synagogue to
say the kadish, the tradi-
tional prayer of mourning
which may be recited only
when there are 10 present for
a public service." Many
times, she noted. they have
found on a- weekday that
there were only nine males
"The woman, though she
might be learned and was
certainly of deep commit-
ment, became to all purposes
a 'non-person' who could not
be counted in the minyan of
10," Mrs. Rappaport said.
"The congregation awaited
the arrival of a male minor
or even a totally unlearned
and non-committed male pas-
serby to 'make the minyan'
— or, many times, the
mourner could not recite a
public kadish because no 10th
male could be reached."
Mrs. Rappaport noted that
the term minyan (numbers)
was derived from the bibli-
cal "edah" (congregation),
and the term congregation
was understood to mean 10
men. This interpretation was,
she added, solidified by Rabbi
Joseph Karo in the 16th Cen-
tury. "When a great scholar
interpreted for his time in
history four centuries ago,
would it not be acceptable
for great scholars of our own
time and place to interpret
for the needs of our time?"
she asked.
Many of today's women are
seeking equality of opportu-
nity, Mrs. Rappaport said,
"and we are encouraging
them to pursue the fullest
possible secular and religious
education. It is particularly
appropriate to examine our
procedures which have been
`time-hallowed' only since the
16th Century, not for the en-
tirety of Jewish tistory."

LONDON (JTA) — Israel's
Ashkenazic c hi e f rabbi,
Shlomo Goren, rejected here
the decision by American
Conservative Jud a is m to
count women for a minyan.
Rabbi Goren, who is visit-
ing here on behalf of the
Joint Israel Appeal, said "I
hadn't even paid attention to
this ruling until the question
was put to me. It cannot be
even considered."
The Orthodox rabbi added
that the traditional exclusion
of women from a minyan "is
not a matter of discrimina-
tion. It is halakhic law based
on the nature of the uni-
Rabbi Norman Lamm of
the Jewish Center of New
York, a professor of Jewish
philosophy at Yeshiva Uni-
versity, said in a statement
to the Jewish Telegraphic
Agency, that women are ex-
empt from many require-
ments obligatory to man,
He added that "voluntary
assumption" by a woman of
a nonobligatory responsibility
"does not transform the act
into one of halakhic obliga-
tion" and a woman so doing
therefore "cannot be counted
as part of a minyan."
PARIS (JTA) — French
Orthodox Judaism came out
strongly against the decision
of American Conservative
Judaism to allow women to
be counted in the minyan —
the quorum of 10 or more
adult Jews required for com-
munal worship.
Speaking for French Ortho-
dox Jews. Paris Chief Rabbi
Ernest Gugenheim said he
did not know "whether to
laugh or cry." He said the
decision "reflects a profound
misunderstanding of the fun-
damentals of the Jewish
Rabbi Gugenheim, who is
an authority on the Halakha
and professor at the Jewish
Seminary of France. said
woman's role is "different
and complementary" with re-
spect to that of man's. Wom-
en, he explained, could never
join men in prayer because
"during that moment when
men seek to come close to
God, they cannot be dis-
tracted to earthly thoughts."


for your


Goren OKs Holiday
Delivery of Milk by
Non-Jewish Labor

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren
ruled here that milk may be
delivered to the processing
plants on the second day of
Rosh Hashana, if it is done
by non-Jews. He also said
the milk may be separated,
pastTirized and weighed if
Jewish labor is not involved.
The ruling came after con-
sultations with dairy scien-
tists, and was made because
the two days of Rosh Hash-
ana occur on Thursday and
Friday, making three con-
secutive non-working days
with the Sabbath.

Ray Raphael's Wife Ettie

donates her time as

Chairmarl of the






Won't you donate


Call the shop:


Friday, Sept. 21, 1973-45

A Woman's Viewpoint:

Torah Should Belong Equally to All

I know lots of women who
won't be beating down the
doors of their Conservative
synagogues to set foot on the
Still, the specter of a horde
of women's liberationists —
Jewish yet!—taking over tra-
ditionally male duties has
sent a shiver of fright
through a number of our men.
They raise valid argu-
ments: Where are we going
to find women who are as
qualified to read from the
Torah as are men? I say:
We'll find them where we
nit the men. Some already
in the synagogue, performing
many hours of service and
attending Sabbath services
and reading from the prayer-
book right along with their
husbands and sons.
Yet another argument:
Erasing the traditional limi-
tations plated on women may
diminish respect for the male
community. Ah, but that's
not so. Respect for the male
in Jewish law and lore is not
built on his inherent male-
ness, or on the act of mount-
ing the bima. Or on being the

10th man. It is built on his
learning, on his compassion
for the downtrodden, on his
concern for the total corn-
To those who say this new
development smacks of Re-
form and thus is "enanger-
ing the very foundation" of
the Conservative movement,
I say: Surely, there must be
more to the ideology of Con-
servative Judaism than that!
And if there isn't, then noth-
ing—certainly not the denial
of rights to women—will save
Just what are those rights
as enunciated by the Rabbin-
ical Assembly? To permit
women to be counted in a
minyan? To recognize that
they are part of the worship-
ing Jewish community? It
does not cancel out their ob-
ligations to their homes and
But if we're going to accept
the fact that this is the 20th
Century, that not all men are
engaged in the study of Tal-
mud and not all women are
bound to hearth and home,
then we must recognize that
change is equally vital in the


Calls Minyan Ruling Infraction on Torah

Editor, The Jewish News:
Kudos to those Conserva-
tive rabbis in our community
who have recognized the new
decision of the Rabbinic As-
sembly for what it is and
have spoken out against this
infraction against Torah liv-
ing — the counting of wo-
men in the quorum required
for Jewish prayer.
Those who hailed this in-
novation as "a major break-
through" obviously regard
the Torah and the Halakha
as some kind of an antiquat-
ed brick wall that must be
modern Jews
are going to
to be liberated.
These men stand in the fore-
front of the assimilation of
the American Jewish com-
munity. They begin with
mixed pews and mixed choirs
and the silent acquiescence
to Sabbath violation, and ul-
timately lead the Jewish
community into mixed mar-
riages by destroying the very
foundation of Jewish life.
As for the Jewish woman,
in the Torah way of life
there are ample safeguards
to protect her exalted posi-
tion in the Jewish commun-
ity. Nowhere among the na-
tions of the world is a woman
so glorified as is the Daugh-
ter of Israel. Her glory stems
from the Torah, and it abides
in her keeping of a kosher
home, observing the laws of
mikveh, and seeing to the
proper upbringing of a new
Jewish generation. The Jew-
ish woman is relieved of the
regimentation called for by
Jewish prayer because her
other activities occupy so
much of her time. Her posi-
tion has never been one of
inequality, but rather one of
supreme dedication to the
service of the Lord. The non-
sensical demand for "liber-
ation" of the Jewish woman
can only come from those
who have a very myopic
view of Jewish life.
It is ironic that while the
Conservative mov em ent
seems determined in its ef-
forts to pull away f r o m
Torah and Halakha, at least
in our community, our bre-

thren of the Reform Temple,
in recent years, have labored
strenuously to bring their
congregation closer to the
mainstream of Jewish life.
We have witnessed a reintro-
duction of Hebrew into the
Reform service, and interest
in the development of Re-
form Jewish day schools, an
ardent involvement with Zion-
ism and the reintroduction
of Jewish practices and ob-
servances, such as the Seli-
hot midnight penitential ser-
It seems that, at least for
the moment, the R e f or m
Jews are conserviW Jud-
aism, while the Conservatives
are trying their hand at re-
form. Hopefully, as we end
one Jewish year and ap-
proach a new one, all Jews
will turn their hearts in the
way of Torah-true living.
Sincerely yours,
Jewish Chaplain
Macomb County
Community College

area of religious practice.
This move was, after all, a
logical extension of the prac-
tice of mixed seating. If the
Conservative rabbinate could
find its way around Halakha
for that departure from Or-
thodoxy, it is anachronistic
to keep women out of the
The presides of the Rab-
binical Affiance of America
(Orthodox) described the de-
cision as "insulting to the
Torah." Nothing could be
further from the truth. When
the Torah was taken out of
the hands of the priests alone
and given to the entire Jew-
ish people, it did not diminish
in importance. Rather, it be-
came all the more cherished.

A sekret ceases tew be a
sekret if it iz once confided—
it iz like a dollar bill, once
broken, it iz never a dollar
agin.—Josh Billings.

Arab Guerrillas
Menace Germany

Newsweek's current issue,
revealing the danger to Ger-
many of infiltrating terror-
ists, states:
"The recent guerrilla as-
sault on the Saudi Arabian
Embassy in Paris has caused
new jitters in West Germany
over the Arabs within its
borders. Bonn has discovered
that ,hundreds of Palestinians,
including some expelled after
the massacre' at the 1972
Olympic Games, have been
slipping into the country.
Unable to get West German
visas, these Arabs fly to
East Berlin (which welcomes
them as 'anti-Zionist heroes').
then cross into West Berlin—
an easy matter under the
newly relaxed rules — and
seek political asylum. As
many as 60 such 'refugees'
a week have been arriving in
West Germany in recent

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Humanist Manifesto
Raises Commentary

Editor, The Jewish News:
Not all of the signers of
Humanist Manifesto II are
necessarily "atheists" b u t
they go along for "God to
take a new shape," in the
words of Max Lerner, quot-
ing Reinhold Niehbuhr (Wash-
ington Star, June 4, 1966, "On
Questioning the Authenticity
of God.").
The choice is not between
theism and atheism, but be-
tween theism and positivism.
The latter says that the word
"God" c a n n o t be given a
coherent meaning to be con-
sidered in any rational way.
For example, Voltaire's very
much quoted saying that if
there were no God we would
have to invent one is self-
contradictory, and therefore
gibberish. By definition, an
invented being is not God.
Yours sincerely,
3635 Barcroft View
Bailey's Cross-
roads, Va.







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