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Open orthodox Shul allows frummies to sit behind second taller mechitza

digitaly looking throuigh the mechitza When you live in the frum community it always seems like there’s this great partisan divide between us and them. Us being the frum and them being the not frum, but what’s even more interesting to me is the divide between those within the ever expanding orthodox community. Tonight, I saw something that was a little shocking and I just want to prepare you for it. I was davening in an open orthodox shul, very liberal one might say. I’m not just judging by the ridiculously low and virtually non-existent mechitza.

They have all the liberal ingredients to make it a very uncomfortable place for someone of a more right wing leaning to daven. Women do pesicha, women show up during the weekdays, and the women of this shul even have a full time posek just for them. (yoetzet halacha)

So you can imagine my shock when I noticed that there was a whole crew of chabadnicks davening behind a second mechitza set up within the mens section. I shit you not folks, this liberal anti-frum shul is so liberal that they allowed the frum to have freedom of expression through an actual kosher mechitza. If there would have been room, I may have inserted myself between the half dozen or so men congregating behind it. Instead I found myself in the back row wondering if I was dreaming or not. I also had as clear view of the ezras nashim, if you could even call it that.

I began to wonder if there exists another shul in the world of orthodoxy that would allow a second stricter or less strict mechitza to be erected within the shul. Were there shuls that had tall mechitzas with a section for the more modernishe folks to sit by a shorter section of mechitza. This way they could keep minhagim such as allowing women to kiss the torah and passing their children over the mechitza when the need arose. Are there other left wing shuls which allow the frummies to sit behind their own mechitza?

Does this exist anywhere outside of the occasional wedding in which the one frum family needs to show how religious they are by sitting at a table surrounded by planters?

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Rebbizzel February 18, 2015, 10:15 PM

    I’m Dumbfounded.

  • Hungry February 19, 2015, 1:42 AM

    I am confused about what you are now doing. Where are you working and can you make me lunch today?

  • Old Fan February 19, 2015, 9:30 AM

    Welcome back, I missed you

    • Ze'ev February 26, 2015, 6:55 PM


  • Rob L February 22, 2015, 9:56 PM

    Pesicha? Now an open-orthodox rabbi can choose to announce her pregnancy either by accepting pesicha or by refusing to make kiddush for her husband.

  • Shira Salamone March 9, 2015, 9:21 AM

    Yeah, put the *guys* behind the Berlin-Wall-style mechitza, for once! I love it!
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: There are 2 totally different hashkafot/religious perspectives regarding the purpose of a mechitza. One is that the purpose of a mechitza is to separate males and females, in which case a 4-foot mechitza will serve quite nicely, thank you. The other is that the purpose of the mechitza is to give the men the illusion that there are no women present by rendering the women completely, or nearly, invisible. You can keep your Berlin-Wall mechitza, thank–I won’t davven in a shul in which I can’t see anything except a wall in my face.

  • Jeffrey March 9, 2015, 6:46 PM

    I’ve attended a conservative shul that had a mechitza and an Orthodox Rabbi and Chazzan.

  • SDK July 2, 2015, 6:01 PM

    Don’t forget the trichitza, where the more religious people sit upfront with a portable mechitza and the less religious or conservadoxish sit in the back, where the mechitza ends and the folding chairs / mixed seating / standing section begins. Everyone is happy and as long as the more religious people don’t look behind them …

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