Special Occasions

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.

  • A woman recites birkat gomel (blessing of thanksgiving) from the ezrat nashim, and the entire congregation responds.

  • Both mother and father of a Bar Mitzvah recite the Baruch Sheptarani prayer.

  • On Simchat Torah, the verses of Ata Hareta are alternated between men and women.

  • At a brit women have participated by holding the baby for the brit or the naming. The new mother often recites aloud a special blessing. In some Orthodox synagogues, it has become customary to name the child using both the mother's and the father's names.

  • Women give introductory explanations before the reading of megilot.

  • Those being remembered in the memorial prayer El Maleh may be referred to as the child of both parents.

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