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Orthodox Groups Continue to Oppose Minyan Equality for Women

Two more Orthodox groups have entered the controversy raised when the Conservative Judaism Movement announced its decision 10 days ago to count women in a minyan. The Religious Zionists of America contended that the decision “can only exacerbate divisions within the Jewish community and will not even increase synagogue attendance.” The National Council of Agudah Women of America said the Conservatives weren’t doing women a favor.

A statement by the executive committee of the RZA warned Orthodox Jews “and all Jews who in one instance or another may require a minyan” that the Conservative ruling “has absolutely no basis in halacha, as any halachic scholar will attest.” It claimed that “Religious Zionism, within the halachic tradition, has done much to dignify the status of women, affording them equal educational opportunities with men, and equal opportunities in the political institutions of the State of Israel.” Mrs. Josephine Reichal, Agudah Women president, said the Conservatives are “trying to convert us into ‘non-women'” while believing that they are redeeming Jewish women “from being a ‘non-person.'” She asserted: “We Jewish women have always counted in the Torah scheme of things.”

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