A Ramat Gan rabbi has cleared it all up for us. It's to compensate for a problem that Orthodox men have, "Men are not able to concentrate..."
Ramat Gan chief rabbi slams 'radical feminist' egalitarian minyanimAnd the Times today reports that a similar concentration problem apparently extends to men golfers in Massachusetts (not necessarily Orthodox Jewish men).
Matthew Wagner , THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 19, 2008
Ramat Gan Chief Rabbi Ya'acov Ariel said Tuesday that it is prohibited according to Jewish law to take part in an "egalitarian" or "partnership" minyan that permits women to read from the Torah or lead the congregation in prayer.
Ariel was reacting to the publication of The Guide for the Halachic Minyan by Michal and Elitzur Bar-Asher. The guide is a compilation of halachic sources on how to integrate women into prayer while at the same time purportedly adhering to all Orthodox strictures.
This is not the first time Ariel has proscribed attending partnership or egalitarian minyanim. Last summer, in a series of articles, Ariel publicized his opinion, specifically mentioning the Shira Hadasha minyan in Jerusalem, one of several "halachic egalitarian" minyanim in Israel. "These minyanim are the product of radical feminist agendas," said Ariel. "And they are a departure from normative Judaism."
Jewish law prohibits giving women the opportunity to read publicly from the Torah out of respect for the community [kvod hatzibur]. Ariel interprets kvod hatzibur to mean "distraction," including sexual distraction.
"Men who come to the synagogue to pray do not want to be distracted by the prominent appearance of women," said Ariel. "I do not necessarily mean only sexual distraction, although that is a real possibility since too many women dress provocatively these days.
"Rather I mean that women attract a lot of attention from men, both intentionally and unintentionally, on many different levels. And this hurts the quality of the prayers because men are not able to concentrate as well..."
Barred From Men’s-Only Event, Woman Sues Public Golf ClubIt's clear then that men are not able to concentrate when a woman is around. //repost from 2/19/08//
Elaine Joyce, a champion amateur golfer, and her father were not allowed to play in a tournament at the Dennis Pines course because the tournament was not open to women....more....