by Susan Sapiro

Partnership Prayer

Ritual Roles in New Minyanim

Ten years ago, Elana Maryles Sztokman made history in the Orthodox Jewish world by leading the first service of congregation Shira Hadasha (New Song) in Jerusalem, the world’s first “partnership” minyan (prayer community). Since then, this “Ortho-egalitarian” model has spread to almost two dozen communities worldwide. In this type of prayer service, women participate within the expanded limits of an Orthodox interpretation of halacha (Jewish law). They can read Torah and Haftarah, lead certain parts of the service, give speeches and participate in decision-making, but they do not count in a minyan, the quorum of 10 required for communal prayer, nor can they lead any part of the service that requires a minyan.

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