Does anyone know how women-only Kabbalat Shabbat prayer came about? I have only come across it in newspapers from about the late 2000s in some United Synagogues. Have there been cases way before this? What is the Halachic approach to this?

  • 2
    If none of the men in the community show up then what else are they supposed to do?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 21:21
  • I could have phrased it better, men are davening in one part of the Shul and the women in another. Why would it be necessary for them to have their own “minyan” simply sing along with the men. Like Miriam in Oz Yoshir. Perhaps. Commented May 19, 2019 at 21:27
  • theus.org.uk/article/women’s-kabbalat-shabbat-draws-crowds-hadley-wood Commented May 19, 2019 at 21:29
  • Why don't you first ask why the men go to a Minyan for Kabbalat Shabbat. They could all say it themselves privately too. It's not a formal part of Davening.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 19, 2019 at 21:45
  • 1
    What are you asking exactly? Instances where women had their own Kabbalas Shabbos davening? Whether it’s permissible for them to do so?
    – DonielF
    Commented May 20, 2019 at 1:20

1 Answer 1


myjewishlearning.com has an article titled "Women’s Tefillah Movement" which paints a comprehensive picture re: the origin of "Women's Minyan"

The first women’s tefillah group began in the late 1960s on the holiday of Simhat Torah at Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan.

By the late 1970s, a number of groups began to meet monthly. Some of these prayer services were tied to rosh chodesh (the beginning of the month) and the new moon cycle and met on weekdays, while others met once a month on Shabbat.

While there doesn't appear to be an exact date for the first Women's Kabbalat Shabbat, one can make an educated assumption that as these women-only Shabbat minyanim sprang up, Women-only Kabbalat Shabbat minyanim likely followed.

The article continues

Opposition and Responses to Women’s Tefillah

Mainstream modern Orthodox rabbis and community leaders rejected women’s tefillah groups for reasons that ranged from the halakhic to the sociological. This issue came to a head in 1985 with publication of the “Teshuva: Responsum” by five highly regarded Yeshiva University rabbis. The position paper viewed the movement as stemming from, and copying, the feminist movement in America with no serious spiritual or religious basis. It prohibited all organized women’s prayer groups in any form.

(worth checking out the article in its entirety)

  • @alichtAre you able to locate the Teshuvah as the website takes me to a general page? Commented May 21, 2019 at 13:09
  • @DanielRoss I don't unfortunately :/. Footnote #27 can hopefully help locate the exact teshuvah torahmusings.com/2013/09/the-maharat-moment-3
    – alicht
    Commented May 21, 2019 at 14:03

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