The Jewish Women: Inside the Synagogue

The Talmud states that women are generally exempted from doing Jewish religious activities. Orthodox Judaism stresses its importance especially that women have family obligations. There are a number of rules for Jewish women in the synagogues – some observed strictly by the Orthodox sect while other Jewish sects are more lenient about it (Conservative and Reform).

  • In Orthodox setting, men and women are separated during prayer services in the synagogue. This is one of the oldest Jewish customs practiced in shul to avoid men from being distracted by women during prayers. Women are usually positioned in a balcony overlooking the Jewish ceremony. This custom, however, is not practiced by other Jewish sects anymore.
  • Women cannot count in a minyan (quorum of 10 people for prayer service). Only males can be included in a minyan for the purpose of public prayer. Women are also not allowed to lead prayer services and are also not obligated to participate in religious activities in the synagogue on a regular basis.
  • Women are not obliged to wear Tallit (Jewish prayer shawl), Kippah and the Tefillin during prayer services.
  • Married women should dress modestly and should cover their hair when inside the Jewish synagogue and sometimes, even in public. Revealing outfits should not serve as distraction to men when praying.

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