The Chief Rabbi says he wants to “move beyond the damaging and often inaccurate conjecture” surrounding partnership minyans, one week after a leading community rabbi ruled such services were “a breach of Jewish law”.
In a letter addressed to United Synagogue rabbis and rebbetzen, Ephraim Mirvis reiterated his position that partnership minyans – traditional services where women take some prayers – are “not halachically sound” and should not take place under the auspices of the US.
He also affirmed it was up to the leading rabbinic authority in each community to take the decision on such matters.
Last week, Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz of Borehamwood and Elstree Synagogue, wrote a letter to congregants saying that anyone who leads these services could not lead prayers in the synagogue over the High Holy
However, Mirvis maintained he has “every respect for participants of such services, who are cherished members of our communities”.
He also outlined the many advances the US has made in involving more women, as trustees of the US and chairs of congregations, as well as being encouraged to deliver divrei Torah at synagogues and recite Kaddish.
“It is inevitable that some will feel we are going too
far, while others will be
of the view we are not going far enough,” he wrote, adding that
such disagreement “should not distract us from the progress we are making”.