VALLEY STREAM JEWISH CENTER

GATES OF ZION - TREE OF LIFE

ק"ק שערי ציון - עץ חיים

 

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Member

The United Synagogue

of Conservative Judaism

 

Synagogue & Sisterhood News

Welcome To Our New Home On The Web

 We are hopeful that the presence of our new Synagogue family, the Valley Stream Jewish Center on the internet will strengthen communication with our members, and make us more visible to the general community.  Your contributions and suggestions for improving our website are most welcome.

Read about our recent merger in the Herald Community

 

ALIYAH FOR WOMEN

Renewing the Life of Our Synagogue Family through Equality

 

       This past year our synagogue family has engaged in a process of study and deliberation with regard to the roles of women and men in our services.  In a series of well-attended Torah-study sessions, we delved into Talmudic sources surrounding the Aliyah of women to the Torah, and found that a strong majority of sages over the centuries permitted women to receive aliyahs; we also learned that a minority opposed this.  We saw that in ancient Israel (perhaps 100-400 CE) women actually did go up to read from the Torah (which was the essence of an aliyah in those days).

We learned that the criterion which governs the actual application of this law is a concept known in the Talmud as K’vod ha-Tzeeboorכבוד הציבור  (the dignity of the com-munity).  This means that the level of women’s participation in the Torah service was governed by the community’s understanding of what public role for women in communal life is deemed appropriate - in any given place and time.  So we asked ourselves:  How do we understand the place of women in our Jewish community today? Do we see women having aliyahs as being in harmony with our current understanding of the role of women in Jewish communal life? After several months of deliberation, an overwhelming majority of our synagogue family answered that question in the affirmative, and the congregation passed a resolution which encouraged Rabbi Yechiel “to phase in the changes necessary to increase the role of women in our services”.   After carefully weighing the law and how it ought to be applied for our community, Rabbi Yechiel decided that the halachah which affirms the full participation of women in the Torah service and in other leadership roles is to be adopted for our congregation.  Even before this process had begun, some honors had been shared equally by men and women - including Kiddush and HaMotzi, reading Megillah, and  leading Hallel; moreover, women above the age of 12 and men above the age of 13 have been counted equally in our Minyan for many years.  To these we gradually added other opportunities to receive honors in the Torah Service – such as opening the Ark and dressing the Torah scroll.  We also encouraged people who were new to certain honors to participate in workshops led by Rabbi Yechiel.  Finally in June, following a period of preparation and transition, we began welcoming women and men to experience the honor of Aliyah to the Torah on an equal basis.  Now virtually all honors and leadership roles are open to competent men and women on an equal basis.  We are now an egalitarian synagogue community. Rabbi Yechiel wrote:  “It is my hope and prayer that our new Minhag (practice) will bring a spirit of renewal and devotion to our synagogue family, and that many of you will find new meaning, spiritual growth and fulfillment in the new roles you choose to fill in the life of our synagogue family.”     

 

 

 

Ongoing Events

Round Table Discussion

Join us every Friday from 1:30 - 3:00 PM for a discussion of current events and matters of public interest, led by moderator Alvin Friedberg.

Braille Workshops
The Valley Stream Jewish Center holds Braille workshops every Monday from 10:00 AM. to noon. Volunteers are needed to help children with string art. Helen Keller Services provides the material. For more information call (516) 561-2308.

Bulletin Board

Looking to exchange "shaloms", greetings and Temple memories with former and current members.

Barbara Blitfield Pech is seeking to communicate with members or friends.  She was Bas Mitvahed in 1959, attended Hebrew school and was a member of the youth group during that time.  If you are interested in corresponding by email click here.

 

 

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© 2008 Valley Stream Jewish Center ▪ 322 North Corona Ave ▪ Valley Stream, NY 11580 ▪ Phone: (516)561-2308 Fax: (516)825-5715