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Let us discuss: Mechitzot

Discussion in 'Judaism DIR' started by Flankerl, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Flankerl

    Flankerl Well-Known Member

    Nov 11, 2010
    With the fun at the Kotel never stopping and increasing hiccups in the American communities I thought it might be a good idea to talk about Mechitzot and how to do them.

    As this is in the General Judaism DIR I hope we can be understanding of other opinions, especially when they come from other denominations.

    As we all know (or don't) there are different kinds of them.

    1. Balcony
    It's just a Balcony, nothing hinders the view of the women on the balcony.

    2. Mechitza made out of wood through the middle Synagogue
    Men and Women both side by side but separated by the wooden Mechitza.

    3. Mechitza made out of a curtain through the middle of the Synagogue (on moveable poles or not)
    Perhaps somewhat transparent but you usually can't make out who might be sitting on the other side as you only see a shade.

    4. Extra Room for the women
    There is either no view, a TV screen or a balcony like wall with one-way glass.

    5. Balcony with one-way glass or curtains

    6. Moveable "Booth"
    Usually for the elderly women when they can't climb the stairs to the balcony or in case the balcony is full.

    I think those are all I can think of.

    #1 and #5
    I've been on balconies and generally felt like it didn't made a difference whether we were there or not. This feeling might be even stronger if there was a stronger separation due to glass or a curtain.

    I cannot possibly imagine how that must feel like. Perhaps I should check one out during my next Israel visit.

    I don't hate them but I find them rather weird. It has such a "wall" feeling to it. Like something you'd build in your garden to separate yourself from your noisy neighbour. But since men and women are basically equal in the separation I have no problem with it.

    We got one at our Synagogue. I personally view them as the best way to keep the sexes apart during service.
    Both are equally apart, no sex is favoured over the other.

    I am not that old and have yet to see one myself. They obviously serve a purpose when a balcony is present.
  2. rosends

    rosends Well-Known Member

    Nov 14, 2014
    Part of the question is the nature of the mechitzah, assuming that it isn't just space between groups (separated but no physical barrier). The material has an effect as does the height; the minimum I have seen is in the 4 foot range (though apparently there are Orthodox opinions that say lower...) and the placement in the room: women on one side, or both sides, or in a horsehoe around the men.
  3. Tumah

    Tumah Well-Known Member

    Dec 17, 2013
    Mega-Super-Ultra-Orthodox Judaism
    Well, I mean, techinically...

    Incidentally, the balcony type is actually the most "authentic". See Sukka 51b. Because men and women weren't acting appropriately together there, they built a sort of balcony by sticking some type of beams into the walls of the Temple and putting planks across them for Simchas Beis HaShoeivah.