…is in the Shul
Reflections on the Current Debate on Women’s Professional Spiritual Leadership
By Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot, Rabbi Chaim Marder, Rabbi Adam Mintz and Rabbi Adam Starr
The Hebrew Institute of White Plains believes that the synagogue must be an important religious, spiritual and social home for women of all ages and backgrounds. Women have held leadership positions in the Hebrew Institute of White Plains for many years. They serve on the Board of Directors, as Officers of the synagogue – including the presidency- and on all committees. For many years we’ve engaged young women scholars as Congregational Interns. The Congregational Intern teaches formal and informal classes, serves as a resource to various groups, works with a bat mitzvah group, and shares Torah with the shul community on Shabbat.
We place a priority on the role of women in the orthodox synagogue, and work to ensure that women are integrated into shul life—including ritual, study, and leadership—to the extent permitted by traditional halacha. To help fulfill this goal…
- A board-level Women’s Focus Officer works to ensure that our efforts by and for women are coordinated and assisted.
- Women join together in their own, shul-sponsored women’s tefillah.
- Women recite the prayer for the US government and tzahal each Shabbat as well as carry the Torah through the ezrat nashim, embodying our ideal that every person should have full access to Torah.
- We have a female congregational intern who teaches and assists congregants.
- Our “Isha L’Isha” efforts include a range of ritual, spiritual, and intellectual programming
- A Yoetzet Halachah has been engaged in partnership with other Westchester synagogues. She will assist our rabbi by advising women on sensitive issues of Taharat Hamishpacha, helping women find solutions in real time in the realm of women’s health and halacha. She will also serve as an educator in our congregation on these and related issues.
For information on women’s tefillah, click here.
For the women’s tefillah service schedule, click here.