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Do women dance the hakafot in your shul?
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Poll

Do women dance in your shul?
Yes  
 12%  [ 34 ]
No  
 87%  [ 241 ]
Total Votes : 275


shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 2:10 am
Do women dance the hakafot in your shul? They do in mine and the last year or two, the women were even given a torah to dance with.
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amother




Blue
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 3:29 am
This came up a few years ago when some of the women 'kidnapped' a Sefer Torah and took it out to the mirpesset to dance. There had been no public planning or discussion, and a lot of the community were very upset with their actions. This happened in the evening, and the atmosphere during the whole of the next day was very uncomfortable as some women tried to do it again, and others tried to guard against it happening.

The Rav wasn't upset at the concept of women dancing with a Sefer Torah (and his wife was in favour of it), but he was very upset at the way it had been done and the subsequent machloket within the the community.

He instituted an extended discussion on the subject over the next year. He started it off with a series of shiurim discussing all the halachic aspects, and then it was thrown open and anyone who wished could present a personal, hashkafic or halachic viewpoint. Towards the end of the summer, after everyone had ample time to discuss it, the community held a vote on what would be the policy going forwards.

The vote came out exactly equal.

The Rav ruled that in the absence of a clear majority in favour of change, the shul would maintain the status quo, and women would not dance with the Sefer Torah. The community accepted that policy. Since then a few women, who felt it was important to them to dance with a Sefer Torah, go away for Simchat Torah. They do feel that their voice was heard and have no arguement with the shul policy. Others stay and accept that it is not going to happen in our shul.

While not everyone agrees with the policy, people accept that it was a fair decision and there is a degree of relief that the shul does have a formal policy in the subject. Last year when a group of girls came in from nowhere and tried to organise women dancing with a Sefer Torah we were able to say that the matter had been discussed and we didn't do that in our shul.

ETA
Not last year. Two years ago. Last time we had Simchat Torah in shul.
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Sesame




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 4:33 am
Never heard of such a concept and I don’t think such a thing would be considered acceptable in my circles
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LovesHashem




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 4:37 am
No it's not done where I live.

Women do dance at simchas beis hashoevas, and growing up women were given the chance to hold and kiss the torahs. Which saddens me that is not a real option where we live now either.
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Success10




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 5:12 am
amother [ Blue ] wrote:
This came up a few years ago when some of the women 'kidnapped' a Sefer Torah and took it out to the mirpesset to dance. There had been no public planning or discussion, and a lot of the community were very upset with their actions. This happened in the evening, and the atmosphere during the whole of the next day was very uncomfortable as some women tried to do it again, and others tried to guard against it happening.

The Rav wasn't upset at the concept of women dancing with a Sefer Torah (and his wife was in favour of it), but he was very upset at the way it had been done and the subsequent machloket within the the community.

He instituted an extended discussion on the subject over the next year. He started it off with a series of shiurim discussing all the halachic aspects, and then it was thrown open and anyone who wished could present a personal, hashkafic or halachic viewpoint. Towards the end of the summer, after everyone had ample time to discuss it, the community held a vote on what would be the policy going forwards.

The vote came out exactly equal.

The Rav ruled that in the absence of a clear majority in favour of change, the shul would maintain the status quo, and women would not dance with the Sefer Torah. The community accepted that policy. Since then a few women, who felt it was important to them to dance with a Sefer Torah, go away for Simchat Torah. They do feel that their voice was heard and have no arguement with the shul policy. Others stay and accept that it is not going to happen in our shul.

While not everyone agrees with the policy, people accept that it was a fair decision and there is a degree of relief that the shul does have a formal policy in the subject. Last year when a group of girls came in from nowhere and tried to organise women dancing with a Sefer Torah we were able to say that the matter had been discussed and we didn't do that in our shul.

ETA
Not last year. Two years ago. Last time we had Simchat Torah in shul.


Your Rav sounds amazing for dealing with it so diplomatically.
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DrMom




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 5:23 am
Yes, hakafot with a Sefer Torah.

Been doing it in our shul ever since I can remember.
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amother




Blue
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 5:56 am
Success10 wrote:
Your Rav sounds amazing for dealing with it so diplomatically.


That is one of his greatest skills. I stayed anonymous, because to anyone who is familiar with the story it would be a dead giveaway as to where I live, and I avoided mentioning the Rav's name for the same reason, but he is quite well known for his work in the field of resolving conflicts and building connections.
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etky




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 6:10 am
amother [ Blue ] wrote:
This came up a few years ago when some of the women 'kidnapped' a Sefer Torah and took it out to the mirpesset to dance. There had been no public planning or discussion, and a lot of the community were very upset with their actions. This happened in the evening, and the atmosphere during the whole of the next day was very uncomfortable as some women tried to do it again, and others tried to guard against it happening.

The Rav wasn't upset at the concept of women dancing with a Sefer Torah (and his wife was in favour of it), but he was very upset at the way it had been done and the subsequent machloket within the the community.

He instituted an extended discussion on the subject over the next year. He started it off with a series of shiurim discussing all the halachic aspects, and then it was thrown open and anyone who wished could present a personal, hashkafic or halachic viewpoint. Towards the end of the summer, after everyone had ample time to discuss it, the community held a vote on what would be the policy going forwards.

The vote came out exactly equal.

The Rav ruled that in the absence of a clear majority in favour of change, the shul would maintain the status quo, and women would not dance with the Sefer Torah. The community accepted that policy. Since then a few women, who felt it was important to them to dance with a Sefer Torah, go away for Simchat Torah. They do feel that their voice was heard and have no arguement with the shul policy. Others stay and accept that it is not going to happen in our shul.

While not everyone agrees with the policy, people accept that it was a fair decision and there is a degree of relief that the shul does have a formal policy in the subject. Last year when a group of girls came in from nowhere and tried to organise women dancing with a Sefer Torah we were able to say that the matter had been discussed and we didn't do that in our shul.

ETA
Not last year. Two years ago. Last time we had Simchat Torah in shul.


So this was almost the exact scenario that happened in our shul except that it happened 15 years ago and since we don't have a rav, we asked the Mara D'Atra to play the role that your rav did.
In our vote there was a simple majority in favor of women dancing with the Torah but we had decided early on that in order to make a change we would need a weighted majority and the motion fell short of passing by 2 or 3 votes.
So - since then, the women of our community have been dancing in the nearby Matnas on erev Simchat Torah with a sefer Torah instead of in the shul. Over time almost all the women (and certainly their daughters!) of the community have joined in- even those who initially were opposed.
The shul suffers from a lack of appropriate space for dancing. In all probability, if that weren't the case the womens dancing would have been moved to the shul since there is very little opposition at this point.
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 6:18 am
Sesame wrote:
Never heard of such a concept and I don’t think such a thing would be considered acceptable in my circles
Women damcing or eomen dancing with torahs?
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essie14




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 9:57 am
In the community that I used to live in, and the community that I identify with, yes, the women dance with a Torah.
Where I am actually living right now, no, they don't. But I'm not happy with any of the shuls here and we are looking to move.
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Sesame




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 10:39 am
shabbatiscoming wrote:
Women damcing or eomen dancing with torahs?


Certainly never heard of women dancing with a Torah ever, or having it passed through to kiss! But I’ve also never known that women dance hakafos in some circles. Seems like I’m coming from a different background so my reply might not be relevant
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chanchy123




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 12:02 pm
Success10 wrote:
Your Rav sounds amazing for dealing with it so diplomatically.

I know of a very similar situation in a community I’m very familiar with (I wonder if it’s the same one I’m thinking about - anyhow the rav in the situation I know of has since left the position).
In my current community as the one I grew up in, women dance in the women’s section during hakafos, I only discovered that this is not universal as an adult (maybe even on imamother). In my current community the Torah is passed over to the women for one hakafa (usually less than women) there usually is not a huge demand for holding the Sefer and it is handed back after a few rounds and everyone having an opportunity to kiss it.
Our former rav set the condition that only a married woman who is tahor can hold the sefer (although I know that many other rabbanim say it is not required).
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 12:46 pm
Sesame wrote:
Certainly never heard of women dancing with a Torah ever, or having it passed through to kiss! But I’ve also never known that women dance hakafos in some circles. Seems like I’m coming from a different background so my reply might not be relevant
no, its fine to answer Smile
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BadTichelDay




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 1:50 pm
They don't in our shul. Our Rav is quite DL- torani/chardali and while I don't know if anyone has ever asked him, I can't imagine him permitting it. Not sure how much demand there would be in our community, either.
When I was new in Israel and lived in a different place, I used to go to a shul where the women did dance with the Sefer Torah and I liked it. It certainly gave me more of a spiritual uplift than just standing still in the women's section and looking on.
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Elfrida




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 2:07 pm
In my regular shul women don't dance. If I want to, there is another shul not far away where women do dance, though not with a Sefer Torah. I've been there a few times, but not regularly.

Dancing is nice, but to me the real spiritual high of Simchat Torah is the leining. First Kol HaNaarim, which brings back fond memories of when I was a little girl racing to be one of the first on the bima. (I know that wouldn't be acceptable everywhere, and my girls wouldn't dream of it, but where I grew up they let us until Bat Mitzvah.) Then the real highlight of the day, finishing the Torah and beginning again. The dancing is fun, but the Torah is the real focus of the day.

It doesn't get much attention, but Tefilat Geshem is also a once in the year experience and shouldn't be neglected.
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chanchy123




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 2:28 pm
BadTichelDay wrote:
They don't in our shul. Our Rav is quite DL- torani/chardali and while I don't know if anyone has ever asked him, I can't imagine him permitting it. Not sure how much demand there would be in our community, either.
When I was new in Israel and lived in a different place, I used to go to a shul where the women did dance with the Sefer Torah and I liked it. It certainly gave me more of a spiritual uplift than just standing still in the women's section and looking on.

Do the women not dance at all at your DL shul?
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shabbatiscoming




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 2:47 pm
Ladies, I wasnt asking if women dance with torahs. I really just wanted to know if the women dance the hakafot at all, in your shuls.
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BadTichelDay




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 3:16 pm
chanchy123 wrote:
Do the women not dance at all at your DL shul?


No. It's just not a done thing. Clapping hands and opening the curtain on top of the mechitza to see better is as far as it goes. The shul is very Israeli and kind of Mercaz ha-Rav (Kook) style and there are virtually no Anglos, but part of the people are eidot ha-mizrach. Maybe that explains it. Different outlook.
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chanchy123




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 4:06 pm
BadTichelDay wrote:
No. It's just not a done thing. Clapping hands and opening the curtain on top of the mechitza to see better is as far as it goes. The shul is very Israeli and kind of Mercaz ha-Rav (Kook) style and there are virtually no Anglos, but part of the people are eidot ha-mizrach. Maybe that explains it. Different outlook.

Interesting. I never thought of it being an “Anglo” thing, I’ve been to various Shuls, only one which was American where the women danced. Obviously to different degrees, usually it’s a bunch of teens dancing vigorously and the older women doing an obligatory round or two.
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BadTichelDay




 
 
 
 

Post Wed, Sep 22 2021, 4:23 pm
chanchy123 wrote:
Interesting. I never thought of it being an “Anglo” thing, I’ve been to various Shuls, only one which was American where the women danced. Obviously to different degrees, usually it’s a bunch of teens dancing vigorously and the older women doing an obligatory round or two.


Hmm. The first shul I went to in Israel, with the dancing with the Torah was very Anglo- and in general, olim chadashim oriented, so I automatically assumed that was why. The other shuls I have been to were eidot hamizrach, Chabad, hill-top and one or two kind of old-school centrist orthodox (in Jerusalem). And of course our DL-torani shul, which I described above. None of those were into women dancing or doing much of anything. I guess it varies. Maybe in cities in general it is a bit more open minded and different from yishuvim (=where I live).
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