I will be participating on a summer program this summer with egalitarian davening, including women leading, laining, having aliyot, etc. Can I respond amen to their brachot? Can I respond to their kedushah? To their aliyot? If I was a gabbay, could I call up a girl? I cannot think of other questions that might come up, but if anyone can think of other issues please add them.

  • Shira Chadasha in Jerusalem identifies itself as an Orthodox egalitarian minyan. When I visited there women led parts of the service (not the t'fillah, but e.g. p'sukei d'zimra) and had aliyot, and there was a bat mitzvah the week I was there. I once had a link to the halachic sources they base their practice on but I can't find it now; maybe this comment will help somebody else. (Oh and yes the men said "amen" and otherwise fully participated.) – Monica Cellio Apr 27 '12 at 22:37

Another thing to consider is dealing with the group's definition of what counts as a minyan/quorum. For example, a nice (and real) question is what would you do if Halacha/your psak says that there is nowhere close to a minyan but at some important point the group holds that there is exactly a minyan with your presence.

Even without having a role, you can't always be a neutral observer.

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    Great question and I'm still not sure how I'd deal with this situation – Sean May 1 '12 at 2:16

Rav Moshe said to distance oneself from such minyanim (OC 4 91:6).

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    Sam, the teshuva advises distancing from "kofrim". From what Monica cited, these congregants seem to be believing Jews, but quite liberal and nontraditional in their practices. While R' Moshe may consider them part of his second group mentioned and one should not daven with them or give any impression of such, there is no indication of him advising distance. – YDK Apr 29 '12 at 3:58
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    @adam mosheh so does Rav Hillel but we have the Ramabams Ikkarim. – sam Jun 20 '12 at 3:50
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    @sam - Ra'avad was not Orthodox? – Adam Mosheh Jun 20 '12 at 5:17
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    @AdamMosheh, its a free country! – YDK Jun 20 '12 at 18:16
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    @sam - Ra'avad was Orthodox but he disagreed with Rambam all over the board including the 13 Ikkarim. Shulchan Aruch disagrees with Rambam as well. – Adam Mosheh Jun 20 '12 at 20:33

Rav Henkin permitted davening in a shul without a mechitza under limited circumstances. He writes:

"Every individual should live in a place of observant Jews if possible. However, if this is not possible, we should not be strict concerning these matters because it will lead to a potential catastrophe.

However, if the place itself is corrupt in that it has mixed-seating, it has already been established that it is preferable to pray by yourself at home. But, if this is the only synagogue in the area and you will always have to pray at home, you must examine the situation and evaluate the corruption versus the hope that through the involvement of the observant in this congregation, the community will become Orthodox. Yet, in all situations you must reprimand them if you pray in their midst."

I'm not sure how this ruling would apply to the summer program you are participating in, since R. Henkin was talking about only mixed seating, but not necessarily mixed participation, but some of the factors to consider are mentioned in his response.

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    Thank you, that is some food for thought. Does anyone have any more thoughts regarding saying amen, participating in kedushah, etc? – Sean Apr 30 '12 at 17:25
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    -1, mixed participation does not necessitate mixed seating or lack of mechitzah. – Adam Mosheh Jun 20 '12 at 2:23

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