Partnership minyans have their benefits


The United Synagogue should recognise the positive side of partnership minyans, a trustee of the organisation said this week.

Jacqui Zinkin argued that such services, even if not allowed on US premises, could help bring people into US shuls.

Over the past year and a half, partnership minyans - where women, as well as men, can read from the Torah and lead certain prayers - have sprung up in four independent venues across the London area. The most recent launched in Hendon a fortnight ago.

Mrs Zinkin told the US council on Monday night that there were "positives for the United Synagogue that can come out of it".

While the Chief Rabbi had said that a partnership minyan could not be held on US premises, "we cannot stop people doing whatever they wish to do outside, but we can look for ways to benefit the United Synagogue from the knock-on effect of these minyanim.

There are positives for the United Synagogue

"And that's the way we can hopefully get articulate, knowledgeable young Jewish families to come into our shuls."

Partnership minyans take place only every few weeks. But Mrs Zinkin knew from her own area that people looking for more regular worship in between go to US shuls.

For such people, it was "either us or Masorti", she added. And as they could not quite bring themselves to become Masorti, they were coming to the US.

US president Stephen Pack said that the Chief Rabbi had made clear his opposition to partnership minyans "whether on-site or off-site" - a position backed by the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue.

"He has also said that he views women leyning from the Torah as not right," Mr Pack added. But the Chief Rabbi was keen to enable women to take part in activities which were permitted by halachah.

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