She only wanted to say the mourner’s kaddish for her grandmother, who had just passed away. But when the young woman tried to do so in a synagogue at her base, she was barred from doing so, and was so affected by the rejection, that she left the base to say kaddish in a synagogue during the customary 7 day shivah mourning period. The head of the IDF‘s Halacah or ritual department, Rabbi Eyal Krim, ruled instead that the young soldier could pray in a classroom, together with a group of women soldiers â€“ but not together with her male comrades.
This incident, now all over Jewish international news media networks, is nothing new, except for the fact that the young woman came from a religious background â€“ Masorati or traditional that is. Growing up in Masoriti youth groups in Israel, including one known as Noam, she had simply been used to praying together with male worshipers, as well as taking an active part in prayer services. She suddenly found herself cast as a “second class” worshiper, and not even allowed to say that very prayer that gives respect to those who have departed from this life â€“ the Kaddish.
Now comes the dilemma that is very relevant nowadays, especially for young people who grow up in non-orthodox religious circles â€“ even though they may consider themselves to be very observant within the doctrines in which they have been active, the religious establishment simply says to them “sorry Charley, on the best tuna goes into Starkist tuna” or : “only men can fully pray, and say Kaddish in an orthodox Shul.
Back to “square one” for the girls. For sure, observant people (orthodox, that is) will disagree whole heartily with this article; and there is where the dividing line is and will continue to be. And women in the orthodox synagogues will have to continue to sit separately (often in an upper deck or gallery), and forced to recruit a male congregant to say the prayer that they should so much be entitled to say themselves, out of respect for the dead.