Its official. Women are no longer expected to participate in public prayer. My proof comes thanks to my crack Haredi correspondent who shared the following newspaper clippings with me. They are part of a description for a weekend some organization sponsored to teach parents how to best serve their disabled children.
As you can see, the organizers take it for granted that women won't be interested in attending the services. To keep them entertained, programming has been scheduled while the men at prayers.
Women may be exempt from participating in public prayers but (a) they still receive the benefits men receive and (b) the exemption is granted, not because women are deemed incompatible with public prayer, but because whoever established the rules thought their time would be better spent watching children. But,this weekend was for parents only. No children were in attendance. But instead of taking advantage of a golden opportunity to pray with a minyan, these women preferred to hear Marion Fine's "side-splittingly humorous takes on life."
By the way, I have the same complaint about women at weddings, or other events, who not only refuse to join the ad hoc mincha minyamim that pop up all over the place, but can't even be bothered to answer the kaddish or kedusha as they walk by.
For now, I'm merely reporting. Better amature sociologists can explain why its happened and what it means, but I maintain this is a Very Bad Development, for women and for Judaism.
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