Volume 7 Number 82

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Orthodox Women
         [Radel Ben-Av]
Permitted to say Kaddish
         [Leon Dworsky]
Women & Orthodoxy
         [Rena Whiteson]
Women of the Wall
         [Jeff Woolf]
Women of the Wall Lawsuit
         [Irwin H. Haut]
Women saying Kaddish (2)
         [Freda Birnbaum, Allen Elias]
Women's Prayer Groups (2)
         [A. M. Goldstein, Isaac Balbin]


From: Radel Ben-Av <radi@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 93 14:19:49 EDT
Subject: Orthodox Women

On an anecdotal level I would like to testify that :
  a- There is a group of jewish "modern orthodox" (whatever this is)
tefila group in Highland-Park NJ. They gather every shabbat [actually,
once a month, on Shabbat mevorchim Chodesh, unless Rosh Chodesh falls on
Shabbat, like this week, when they meet on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh - Mod.],
they pray and they read the tora. I was also told that they are
following the psaks of R. Avi Wise.
   b- In the yavneh minyan at Princeton University (a minyan of orthodox
students) last year there was a girl who did say kadish. She was
standing behind the mechiza, and was saying it simultaneously with a
male saying the kadish. However it was not in a whisper.



From: <ljd@...> (Leon Dworsky)
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 93 17:35:32 -0400
Subject: Permitted to say Kaddish

Michelle Gross comments:

> ... If no one there is saying [kaddish], the gabbi .... will find ...
> someone who is PERMITTED to say it, ....  (capatilization mine. LJD)

If ones parents are living, one does not say a kaddish for someone
without their permission.  Does the phrase "who is permitted to say
kaddish" have any other application?  Would it refer to a sybling during
the first 30 days?  Would one need "permission" from living parents to
say kaddish for a sybling or spouse?

> I haven't not found it to be the case that women's saying kaddish is
> very rare.

We find in our Kehilla, where visitors are constantly coming and going,
that it is as Michelle says - not rare - for a woman to be saying kaddish.

Leon Dworsky     <ljd@...>


From: <rena@...> (Rena Whiteson)
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 93 17:36:22 -0400
Subject: Women & Orthodoxy

> From: <edell@...> (Steve Edell)
> The problem as I understand it for women to be called up to the Torah is
> not with the women, but with the weaker species, us men.  Our thoughts
> during _dovening_ (prayer) should try to be as 'pure', as infocus, as
> possible.  Most guys I know, esp. including me, won't be able to do that
> with pretty & young women going to the Torah all the time.

This is one of the aspects of Judiasm that has disturbed me for a long
time.  And I really don't understand it because it seems so contrary to
what I have always understood to be an important innovation of Judiasm:
individual responsibility.

I am referring to the concept that one group of people (men) are weak,
and another group (women) have to bear the responsibilty or pay the
price for that weakness.  In the example above, if a man cannot keep his
mind on his prayers when a "pretty young woman" is going to the Torah,
he should take responsibility for it and stay home, or wear blinders or
do whatever it takes.  Why should the woman be penalized by being
excluded from this important community activity?  The situation is
similar in the rules for modest dress for women.  Why should a married
woman have to cover her hair whenever there is a man around?  It's a
very big nuisance, and she has no problem.  Why can't she walk around
with her hair exposed like everyone else? If a man cannot look at her
without having 'impure' thoughts he should look elsewhere.  Surely his
thoughts should be his own responsibility, not the responsibility of
every single woman in the world.

If anyone can enlighted me on this I would appreciate it very much.

Rena Whiteson


From: Jeff Woolf <JRWOOLF@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 93 22:16:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Women of the Wall

Without trying to be overly provocative, I'd like to register my
hesitation about the 'Women of the Wall.' I do not at all question the
propriety of women having anhalakhic tefilla. However, the show of
'unity' which was supposedly presented by this group was (in my humble
opinion) bad for Orthodox women seeking a legitimate spiritual outlet,
By allying themselves with non-Orthodox and anti-religious/anti-clerical
groups they undermined their efforts and fed their opponents an easy
ammunition with which to vilify and discredit them.

                                                   Jeff Woolf


From: Irwin H. Haut <0005446733@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 93 22:19:39 -0400
Subject: Women of the Wall Lawsuit

I am reliably informed that there has been no decision to date in the
lawsuit instituted by the women of the wall.  
yitzchak haut


From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 93 10:34 EDT
Subject: Women saying Kaddish
Michelle Gross writes:

>Please allow me update what was written in a submission (7:21) on women
>and Orthodoxy with regard to women saying kaddish.

(I've checked volume 7, numbers 20-23, and can't find the original
reference.  Was there a typo, or what?  Before replying, I would have
preferred to see the original, which I don't remember.)

I said kaddish for my mother five years ago, committed myself to once a
day because, if you think it's difficult for a man to find a minyan 3x a
day, especially in the wintertime, multiply that manyfold for a woman.
Now the cheatin' way to do that could have been: mincha-maariv every
other day!  You get it in once a halachic day that way.  Well, obviously
that didn't seem acceptable.  So I scrounged around and found places
where I felt comfortable enough, and made it shacharis every day.

I find the following statement troubling:

>I either phone ahead or when I'm at shul I let the gabbi know that I
>have an obligation to say kaddish. I ask if anyone usually says it. If
>no one there is saying it, the gabbi, rabbi, or person to whom I have
>made the request will find for me someone who is permitted to say it,
>and that person then does recite it so that I may either answer "amen"
>or say it quietly.  Of course, at my regular minyan, there is no need
>for this special request, as the men there already know my status (and
>that of the other men and women who say kaddish), so can plan
>accordingly if female but not male mourners are present. The procedure
>of asking applies when I travel or if I catch a minyan in another part
>of town.

Unfortunately, many people are under the impression that women can't say
it by themselves, and insist on someone male saying it along with her.
It's hard enough to get a minyan sometimes, do we have to put up with
this too?  The question may be moot many times because many of the guys
who come to minyan are doing it because they have to say kaddish; if it
makes them feel less uneasy if they say it along with you, that's nice,
for them.  But nobody has to say it along with you.

As to women saying kaddish "quietly", the whole POINT of saying it is
for the minyan to answer "amen".  (Question: if you're a man, do you
need 10 besides you, or 9 besides you?)

>I have found that there is a
>difference of opinion as to whether any circumstances can obligate a
>woman to say kaddish,

I was under the impression that having lost a parent, child, sibling, or
spouse was the circumstance that obligated one to say kaddish.  What
have I missed?

>wanted to let you know that my experience is quite the opposite of that
>mentioned in the previous mail.jewish (7:21).

Are you sure it was 7:21?  I retrieved it but it doesn't seem to have
anything on kaddish.

I look forward to the day, it should come soon already, when there will
be no more need for anyone to say kaddish; but until then, I look
forward to the day, it should also come soon, when women do not have to
deal with questions like this any more.

Freda Birnbaum

From: Allen Elias <100274.346@...>
Date: 15 Jun 93 17:34:19 EDT
Subject: Women saying Kaddish

Reply to Michelle Gross vol.7 #75

I was surprised to read that women quietly say kaddish behind the
mechitsa.  The whole idea of saying Kaddish is to have a minyan of men
answer Amen.  If one says it quietly little has been accomplished.

It would be a bigger aliya for the neshama to contribute money to a
shul, charity, or yeshiva to have someone say kaddish with a minyan
answering Amen. That is what most women who need to say Kaddish do.


From: A. M. Goldstein <MZIESOL@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 09:16:20 IST
Subject: Women's Prayer Groups

To add to the list of women's prayer groups or women's minyanim, however
they're termed, the Neve Shaanan section of Haifa has been trying to
start one.  They've met once or twice so far, and though they did read
from Torah and Haftora I'm not sure what else was done.  So far as I
know, the organizers have not sought out the opinion of the rav
shechunati (neighborhood rabbi) on the matter.  Though "Anglos" are
in the forefront, I don't know the participant mix. There are women--
like my wife--who cheer this group on but don't personally feel the
need for such a minyan-group.

From: <isaac@...> (Isaac Balbin)
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 93 22:24:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Women's Prayer Groups

Rabbi Bleich, in an article discussing this issue raises the pertinent
point of `where should I be.' That is, is it preferable for a woman to
be part of T'filla B'Tzibbur (public prayer in a minyan) as opposed to
T'fillat Nashim (female prayer). He concludes that halachically, it
would seem that it is preferable for a woman (and indeed a man) to be
part of a Tzibbur.

Why then would a halachically motivated woman seek a practice that did
not promise the rewards of T'filla B'Tzibbur?  There are many who would
argue that they find closeness in quiet meditation, alone. This noble
motive also must be deferred to T'filla B'Tzibbur.

In conclusion, if there is a T'filla B'Tzibbur on, you must attend this
in the first instance.

[Does anyone have Rabbi Herschel Schachter's telephone number (via email


End of Volume 7 Issue 82