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January 03, 1986 - Image 23

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1986-01-03

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4'Friday, January 3; 1986 23.

B'nai Moshe's Ruth Marcus touches the Torah with her tallit at a women's service. With her are Magdalene Thirman, Susan Friedman and Pearlena Bodzin.

the Torah. A classic statement found
in a B'raita quoted in Meg. 23a:
"Anyone may ascent (for an aliyah)
for the seven honors, even a minor,
even a woman ..." But, he writes,
the sages later said a women shall
not read in public because of K'vod
Hatzibbur (the dignity of the con-
gregation).Why would a woman's
reading be offensive to the congrega-
tion? Because of "the implication
that there is no man present who
can read from the Torah," says
Rabbi Blumenthal, The rabbi notes
that K'vod Hatz bbur is a rabbinic
concept. Just as e Halachah was
able to modify laws enunciated in
the Torah (such as doing away with
the Biblical permission for
polygamy), "it certainly can re-
define. the rabbinic concept of K'vod
Hatzibbur" to permit women to read
in public — as they did in Talmudic
"We could solve our problem
very expeditiously by saying that
many of the things which offended
K'vod Hatzibbur in Talmudic times
no longer offend us," writes Rabbi
Blumenthal. "The Jewish woman
who works side by side with her
husband for the welfare of the
synagogue and the Jewish commun-
ity, who is active in the UJA, in
Zionist effort, in both Jewish and
secular education, whose"sense of so-
cial responsibility usually is keener
than that of her husband, deserves



Torah reader Pearlena Bodzin.

this equality of status in the
Rabbi Efry G. Spectre of Adat
Shalom Synagogue concurs. Like
Cong. Beth Shalom, Adat Shalom is
considered among the more liberal
in metro Detroit in terms of women's
religious participation. Women are
given aliyah here, although they are
not counted in the minyan. "Our
congregation has many young
women who are prominent in the
business and professional world. (As
a result), we began to examine more
participation for women in religious
life," he says.
• At Adat Shalom, changes en-
larging the participation of women
are worked out by Rabbi Spectre,
synagogue board members and the
ritual committee (both sexes serve as
congregation leaders, as is the case
for vitrually all Conservative Jewish
congregations in Detroit).
Rabbi Spectre says the changes
broadening women's roles have been
well accepted by Adat Shalo&mem-
bers, though in a large congregation
like his, "some like one thitig, and
some like another."
Still, "We've (the Conservative
movement) already reached the
point where it's not a shocking thing
to see women on the bimah."
"We always -have to be examin-
ing and re-examining what's gone on
before, such as in the prayer service.

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