Including Women in Prayer

Here we share tips on how to include women in prayer

SPACE

  • Divide it equally
  • Position the mechitza so that women and men are side by side
  • Respect women’s and men’s spaces- don’t use them as a passage
  • Consider what renders the space ‘sacred’ and whether both sections on either side of mechitza have a ‘sacred’ feel- this can be positioning the aron hakodesh in the middle – between both sections, where possible the bimah, but also what else is in the mitpallelim’s field of vision (a stack of chairs being stored or a mural of the kotel?)

TORAH

  • Invite women for P’tichah (opening ark)
  • Invite a woman to hold the Sefer Torah while the Haftarah is being read
  • Invite women to carry the Torah through women’s section
  • Include mother’s as well as father’s names in call ups
  • Include Imahot (foremothers) in mi’sheberach
  • Invite a woman to be sgan/ gabbait from women’s side
    • This demonstrate that women has the knowledge/skill to correct leyning
    • Placing a woman (as gabbait) at one end of the bimah can visually communicate that women are represented and part of what is taking place on the bimah
    • Gives women the opportunity to see what goes on during Torah reading
  • Invite women to do hagba’ah/gelilah
    • Gives women positive sense of familiarity with the Torah
    • Communicates a sense of ownership- the Torah doesn’t ‘belong’ exclusively in the men’s domain
  • Click here for a halakhic discussion on women’s aliyot
  • Invite a woman to read the Haftara
  • Invite women to read Megillot

TEFILLAH

  • Wait for 10 women as well as 10 men to begin – communicate that their presence is equally important to your community
  • Begin at Rabi Yishmael or if must begin w/ b’rachot, recite them quietly (shelo asani isha)
  • Invite women to lead P’sukei d’Zimra
  • Invite women to recite prayers for medinah, cholim, any extra tehillim
  • Invite women to lead Hallel on Rosh Chodesh
  • Invite women to give a d’var halacha before conclusion

SHABBAT