By Vered Noam
From Mussaf Shabbat, Mekor Rishon, Jan 11, 2013
The segregation of women from synagogue activities does not only hurt women but also hurts the place itself, which loses its authenticity and lives in a gone reality. A call for integrity and softness.
Our spiritual lives are divided by a partition, just like a synagogue. We push to the other side of that internal partition all the vital foundations of healthy critical thinking, compassion, and common sense. Spiritual experience demands openness and listening, both inward and outward. How can we sing Lord’s song with a clenched fist?&
During a visit to the United States, we spent one Friday night in the synagogue of Rabbi Avi Weiss in Riverdale, New York. After Kabbalat Shabbat, the rabbi suddenly asked the congregation to stand. He turned his attention to a woman walking in, a member of the synagogue who was in the middle of her seven days of mourning. He announced her name and the name of her deceased father, and the entire congregation – men and women alike – turned to her and recited, as is the custom, the lovely words of comfort that the halacha has given us: “May God comfort you, etc.”