Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

British Orthodox Body Condems Shul For Allowing Women to Hold Torah

Britain’s umbrella body of Orthodox communities is condemning a London Orthodox synagogue that allows women to hold Torah scrolls.

Earlier this year, Golders Green United Synagogue began giving women an opportunity to handle the Torah scroll on Shabbat mornings and festivals, and the change has been well received by members of the community, according to the shul’s chairman, Benny Chain. The Torah is taken out of the ark by a man and handed to a woman, who takes it around the women’s section before returning it to the men.

Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, head of the rabbinate of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, issued a statement condemning the practice as “Reform-influenced,” the Jewish Chronicle of London reported. Padwa said “breaches of this nature” came “from the influence of the Reform.”

The practice is uncommon but not unheard-of at Orthodox synagogues, and a growing number of American Orthodox shuls allow women to hold and dance with the Torah scrolls on Simchat Torah. “People have said what an emotional experience it is and that they feel much more involved in the service,” Chain said of his shul’s change.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.