An Orthodox Jewish Prayer Group Led by Women

808 Nostrand Ave. in Crown Heights, Brooklyn where the prayer group will meet the third Saturday of every month. (Photo via Google Maps)

808 Nostrand Ave. in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, where the prayer group meets the third Saturday of every month (Photo via Google Maps)

The sight of women leading prayers, with men partitioned off, may seem “unorthodox” to some in Crown Heights. But perhaps to Nechama Levy, that’s all the more reason for the Brooklyn Women’s Chavura (“fellowship” in Hebrew). The local bike shop owner tells The Forward’s Sam Kestenbaum that at the monthly Orthodox Jewish prayer group, “Men are welcome. But this is a space for women.”

Levy said that she saw a gap in the religious landscape of Crown Heights, where she now lives. The neighborhood is known as the world headquarters of the ultra-Orthodox Chabad movement, but Modern Orthodox Jews have been increasingly moving into the neighborhood as well as young professionals find themselves priced out of brownstone neighborhoods like Park Slope. Women have taken on prominent rabbinical roles in other denominations, of course, but in most Orthodox circles take a back seat in synagogue.

Did Levy encounter pushback from the community? Read more from her and about the prayer group at The Forward.

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