Cheadle synagogue celebrates more female inclusion

By Jonathan Kalmus, September 24, 2009

Greater inclusion of women in Orthodox synagogue life is being celebrated at Cheadle’s Yeshurun Hebrew Congregation.

Over the past 20 years a special committee has campaigned for women to occupy positions on the synagogue’s executive, introduced women’s prayer services and last year began the first female honour of eshet chayil (woman of valour) to sit beside the traditional men’s Simchat Torah first and last Torah reading honours. These and other achievements will form the basis of an exhibition at the shul.

The Women in Judaism group was established when Yeshurun members attended a conference in 1990 held by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks, then the head of Jews’ College. The group’s chair, Irene Naftalin, said after 20 years of active interest from women “It’s now time to bring in the next generation of female members to continue to make this relevant for them.”

Minister Rabbi Chaim Kanterovitz said: “A lot of women are disaffected and this gives them a path to connect to Hashem. The prayer group especially has been a phenomenal vehicle.”

Last updated: 3:10pm, September 24 2009