that it is a sharp departure from normative Jewish custom.
67.R. Shalom Messas, Resp. Shemesh uMagen, II, sec. 28. The major arguments are: first, that women’s services are private worship, and, hence, inappropriate for the synagogue, which is dedicated to bona fide tefilla be-tsibbur; second, one loses the opportunity to fulfill tefilla be-tsibbur by praying in a women’s service. The first objection is surprising in light of the ruling of Shulhan Arukh, O.H. sec. 90, no. 9, that private prayer is preferable in a synagogue; the second objection will be discussed below.
68.R. Leib Baron, “BeInyan Im haNashim Rasha’ot le-hitPallel beTsibbur ve-liKrot baTorah u-biFrat Eitsel haKotel haMa’aravi,” HaDarom 60 (Elul 5751), pp. 27-29. His major objections are that the motivation of those involved in women’s services is impure (“ein levavan im haKadosh Barukh Hu”), that this practice is influenced by the Reform, and finally, that such an innovation might violate “bal tosif.” Regarding the first two points, see the discussion below. Regarding bal tosif, see notes 91, 95, 227 and Addendum section of this paper, Part 5 infra.
68*. R. Samuel Tuvya Stern, Resp. haShavit, V, sec. 31, on the grounds that such innovations are immodest; see supra note 56
69.In a one-page resolution dated 7 Shevat 5757 (January 14th 1997), the Va’ad HaRabonim of Queens charged that women’s prayer groups, hakafot and Megilla readings were “poreits geder be-masoret Yisrael (breaching the boundaries of Jewish tradition)” and therefore prohibited. See also a subsequent article by R. Yitzchak A. Sladowsky, Executive Vice President of the Queens Va’ad, Sh’ma, 27/531 (April 4, 1997), pp. 3-4.
70.R. Juda haLevi Amihai, unpublished responsum to Beit Kenesset Mitspe Nevo, Ma’ale Adumim, dated 6 Kislev 5758 (on the stationery of Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau); see below, note 71.
70*. R. Isaac Liebis, Resp. Beit Avi, V, sec. 65.
71.R. Efraim Greenblatt, Resp. Rivevot Efrayyim, VII, sec. 235; VIII, sec. 67, no. 4, sec. 135 and sec. 494.
71*. R. Elijah Schlesinger, Resp. Sho’alin veDorshin, IV, sec. 55. R. Amihai (supra, note 70), R. Liebis (supra, note 70*), R. Greenblatt (supra, note 71) and R. Schlessinger rule against women dancing with a sefer Torah based on a custom that menstruants (niddot) do not look at a sefer Torah (see Resp. Binyamin Ze’ev no. 153; Mishna Berura, O.H. sec. 88, no. 7), a fortiori to carry it. See also R. Moshe Raziel, in Bat-Mitsva (Jerusalem: