Esther Edell

We know that our sages say, “מנהג ישראל דין הוא”, Jewish customs are considered Jewish law. We see that in practice, for example, in the custom among Ashkenazi Jews not to eat legumes (kitniot) during Pesach. Although some Ashkenazi Jews have decided not to keep this minhag, most Ashkenazi Jews (myself included) observe this minhag religiously. 

I understand that many Orthodox rabbis hold that a woman leading Kabbalat Shabbat is not strictly against Halacha. Be that as it may, everyone agrees that – at the present time – it is not part of normative Orthodox Judaism for a woman to lead Kabbalat Shabbat. We can, therefore, call it a minhag that only a man can lead Kabbalat Shabbat. 

Since, however, there is a large number of members who would like to have a woman leading Kabbalat Shabbat at Kehillat Yedidya, I propose that this group be permitted to have this type of alternate service at the entrance level as often as they like. However, in keeping with “minhag Yisrael”, the Kabbalat Shabbat service led by a man should take place upstairs in the main sanctuary, from the bima, every Shabbat.