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Women’s Participation


At its core, the Zemer HaZayit Congregation is committed to furthering women's participation in community life and prayer, in accordance with its commitment to Jewish law.


All religious decisions are made with the approval of the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Rabbi Shlomo Riskin.


Among the elements that give Zemer HaZayit its distinctive flavor within Efrat are:


  • Equally-sized men’s and women’s sections, with a mechitza partition down the middle of the sanctuary space

  • An Aron Kodesh (the Holy Ark) at the front of the two sections with free access from both sides

  • Women and men take turns opening and closing the Ark and carrying the Torah to their respective sections during the prayer service

  • Women deliver sermons during the prayer service with the partition open to both sides.  The partition is kept open during announcements as well.

  • Women recite the Kaddish prayer aloud

  • Special women’s Torah reading - by women, for women - is held every few months

  • Women read the Haftara and several of the Megillot for the entire congregation

  • Bat Mitzvah girls celebrate in varied ways, including delivering a sermon, leading a special Friday night Kaballat Shabbat prayer service and reading the Torah portion for women

  • Women and men are equally involved in lay leadership



Simchat Torah at Zemer Hazayit is an event for the entire Efrat community.  The women dance with the Torah, lead some of the rounds of “Hakafot,” read the Torah in a women’s service and are honored as “Bride of the Torah” (Kalat Hatorah) and “Bride of Genesis” (Kalat Bereshit).

“Synagogue More Inclusive” – Jewish Independent of Vancouver, March 4, 2016, by Rebeca Kuropatwa

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