Winnipeg Shul Equalizes Ritual Roles

Breaking a pattern of almost 90 years, Shaarey Zedek, the oldest Conservative synagogue in Winnipeg, Canada, recently voted to include women in ritual “equalized to that of men.” More than 70% of the 300 members attending the meeting to consider the question voted yes. While various Conservative rabbis made negative comments on the action, Orthodox Rabbi Neal Rose of the Judaic Studies Department of the University of Manitoba, stated that “there is nothing to prevent a woman being called to the Torah….” adding that “the decision is acceptable if Shaarey Zedek is governed according to halachah (Jewish law).”

The Winnipeg decision will be implemented in four phases that will take about a year—giving the congregation a chance to “adjust” to the changes proposed.