On Friday I learned that it is now permissible for women to pray at the Western Wall wearing prayer shawls and phylacteries. So congratulations ladies. However I have to admit that I have never understood this desire. Even when I was more religious and could envision myself living in a more orthodox lifestyle this was never something that appealed to me. When I would attend my Conservative synagogue (for those of you who aren’t aware Canadian Conservative is quite different than American Conservative) and see the odd woman in a Tallis and a Kipah I just didn’t get it. However, I can still appreciate that there are women to whom this is very important. To those of you who are offended by this I’m sure that in time you will manage to adjust.
The more serious right to me is that women still can’t read from the Torah at the Wall and must go to Robinson’s Arch. I see this as a simple issue of education.
I cannot help but notice in synagogue that when a woman has an aliyah she often is clearer than her male counterparts. Maybe it’s because women don’t take this honour for granted and we feel that we need to prove ourselves or perhaps because women are not even asked to read unless they can prove themselves to be more than capable before they are given the honour. Whatever the reason I’ve never heard a woman read from the Torah and not be impressed with her proficiency.
I guess it’s one battle at a time.