Modern Orthodox Feminism

In his fourth lecture on Rabbi Yisrael Moshe Hazan (19th Century rabbi in Rome) for Torah in Motion, Rabbi Marc B. Shapiro says:

A lot of the Modern Orthodox feminists want to update things even in the Torah. They’ll say that the Torah was given in an era where people did not recognize the woman’s whole personality. They say we’re not rejecting the Torah, we’re saying the Torah never intended it.

Rabbi Hazan says there is no individual obligation to daven with a minyan. The community is responsible. It is a good thing to go, but there is no obligation for a woman.

If this is correct, then you can’t say that women can’t lead public prayers because they’re not obligated when according to Rabbi Hazan, nobody is obligated to daven with a minyan.

I pointed this out to Judith Hauptman (feminist Talmud scholar). She had a whole article on women and minyan. She tried to show that men have this obligation and women can accept this obligation.

I emailed her and said, why do you assume that there is any obligation for men to daven in a minyan? That would make her case easier.

She repeated this point in response to criticism of her article but she didn’t attribute this to Marc Shapiro, when I was the one who pointed it out to her.

We have proof that women can be counted in a minyan for megillah Esther.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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