by Sara N.S. Meirowitz

Why Does It Matter Where I Pray?

Where shall I daven today? I’ve been asking myself this question each Shabbat for the better part of two decades. While I was raised in the liberal-hippie-fully egalitarian world of the havurah movement, I am also an alumna of a modern Orthodox day school in which women held few ritual roles and sat separated from the men during prayer. And so I continually find myself caught between competing values in finding a prayer space. How do I reconcile counting myself in a minyan (quorum of ten required for a prayer group) with Orthodox understandings of Jewish law? What service and community is most conducive to my personal kavvanah (prayerful intention)? How can I best use my talents as a ba’alat tefillah, a prayer leader, to honor God and support my community in prayer?

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