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A Congregation Of One

A Congregation Of One

Elana Maryles Sztokman assumes a great deal in her Opinion article, “My Feminist Struggles With Yom Kippur,” Oct. 3. She
assumes that all of observant female-hood shares her offended sensibilities
against the “privileged men.” She has also found every religious man who
practices his faith as Jewish law dictates guilty of some sort of crime.

Halacha is what it is, which in that the roots were divinely given to man to
interpret. As the tale in (Talmud tractate) Baba Metziah shows, Rabbi Eliezer’s position had
heavenly backing, but tough: God handed over His Torah to man, the majority
rules, and He upholds their decision.

Sztokman’s translation of female “power” is sadly narrow; if I attempted to explain
to her my entitled female status via halacha, chances are she wouldn’t
understand. But I would suggest that if she feels so aggrieved attending
standard Orthodox services, she is more than welcome to open a shtiebel (small, informal congregation) according to her own “feminist” preferences. But
chances are she will be a congregation of one.


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