Daily and Shabbat Services

The following are practices that some Orthodox synagogues have introduced to make women feel more welcome. These ideas are based on the Summer 2000 JOFA Journal, a publication of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA). For further clarification of these innovations and for halakhic references, please call the JOFA office at (212) 752-7133 or email jofa@rcn.com. For more information about JOFA visit their web site at www.jofa.org.
  • When the sefer Torah is being carried around the synagogue, it is carried to the women's section. In some synagogues, the Torah is given to a woman to carry through the ezrat nashim (women's section). In some, the Torah is specifically handed from a man to his wife and then back to her husband.

  • Women mourners recite kaddish. In many synagogues she says it even if she is the sole person reciting kaddish.

  • Many synagogues have included the imahot (matriarchs) in the Mi Sheberach prayer for the sick and in other prayers such as the blessing for the soldiers.

  • Women recite kiddush and/or hamotzi at communal meals in the synagogue.

  • Women give introductory talks before Torah and Haftorah readings.

  • Women give sermons and lectures in the synagogue on Shabbat morning.

  • In some synagogues, the shaliach tzibur (prayer leader) recites the blessing Shelo Assani Isha silently. In others, he pauses after saying that blessing aloud so that a woman can then recite the blessing of She'asani Kirtzono.

  • A man may request that he be called to the Torah not only using his father's name, but also his mother's name.

  • During the seven days of sheva brachot following a wedding, we don't say tachanun in the presence of the kallah (bride)

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