Don’t ask girls to leave their minyan

By Jenny Newman '11

Dear Shalhevet Boiling Point,

I am extremely confused by the school’s decision not to allow women to carry the Torah during Mondays and Thursdays in the regular upperclass minyan.

With all due respect to the many practices within the Shalhevet system, this seems wrong. I don’t disagree at all with the notion that both Ashkenazic and Sephardic cultures should be recognized, but why is it that the school split things up so that the Sephardic students got both days of Torah reading? If the primary issue is one of nusach, as Rabbi Leubitz mentioned, why is it that the minyan can’t use the Sephardic nusach and take one extra minute to reach out to its female students?

On the other hand, if this really is an issue of men not wanting women to carry the Torah, why don’t they – the men – leave the regular minyan, rather than forcing the girls to do so? Why are you asking the girls to leave their minyan twice a week just so that they can carry the Torah? It doesn’t make sense, and it isn’t practical. Why should the teachers in charge of davening have to run around keeping track of girls switching minyanim twice a week?

It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Jenny Newman ‘11