A View from the Women’s Section

A View from the Women’s Section October 15, 2018

Just thought I’d post the link to an article that I recently wrote about my experience attending a prayer service in a mostly female space. In Orthodox Jewish prayer spaces, there is always a mechitzah (literally, ‘wall’) that separates men and women during prayer. Ideally, both sections would be of equal size and have equally good visibility and access to what’s going on. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Here’s my musing on this topic, and how men can do better at appreciating and responding to the needs of women who come to pray.

Read it here:

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  • Christine

    Perhaps, in a future post, you could explain the reasoning behind the mechitzah. I can surmise that there are passages of the Torah that men and women may wish to reflect on without the other gender present.

  • Michael Weiner

    That’s an excellent idea. Briefly, I think the rabbis did a cost benefit analysis and determined that the benefit of an increased sense of togetherness and communal unity doesn’t outweigh the cost of the inevitable distraction (sexual or otherwise) that occurs for at least some people some of the time when men and women sit together.

    And because concentration and intention is so fundamental to prayer (Maimonides says if you weren’t focusing on the words, you weren’t really praying!), we want to minimize all powerful sources of distraction if we can.

  • Christine

    At the risk of speaking out of turn, had the rabbis all been women, doubtless they would have arrived at the same conclusion!