Don’t Shun Frum Feminists

Don’t Shun Frum Feminists
by Benedict Roth
The Jewish Chronicle
November 10, 2016

Shimon Cohen suggests that orthodox feminists who do not value our traditions should exit their communities. Rabbi Stuart Altshuler, from a progressive synagogue in Belsize Park, agrees (see related articles).

But they appear to have aimed at the wrong target, for orthodox feminists are tightly bound to our traditions – this is why they do not leave – and, in the case of the women’s Torah reading which is a touchstone of the current debate, the traditional position is more nuanced than either man admits. Indeed, the tradition offers potential for women’s involvement in the synagogue that would surprise many readers.

This traditional position is rooted in the Talmud’s declaration (Megillah 23a) that “all may be included among the seven called to the Torah on Shabbat, even a child or a woman”. The Talmud continues, “but the rabbis said that a woman should not read from the Torah because of the honour of the congregation”. Read More

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