Michal Schechter’s recent article entitled “Feeling Marginalized Uptown: A Stern Student’s Perspective” caused many people to reexamine the religious opportunities available to women who spend time on the Wilf campus. Among her many concerns was the fact that there was no place for her to daven with an official minyan on the uptown campus. Michal’s article spurred us to work with her to try and change this phenomenon and create a regular women’s section at one of the YU minyanim.
We are starting this initiative with the 10 p.m. Maariv Minyan in the Rubin Shul for several reasons. Firstly, during the school year, most of the women who are on the Wilf Campus are there at night, so maariv is the time when having a women’s section at a minyan is the most relevant. Also, the Rubin Shul is a space that is generally open to women, and is out of the way of the Glueck Beit Midrash and other sensitive areas on the Wilf campus. The gabbaim of this minyan have graciously agreed to ensure that the mechitzot will always be in place. So far, several women have been coming to this minyan for about two months, and have felt comfortable and welcome there.
Although other issues may remain, the mechitza at this minyan is a significant improvement. While a few women regularly attend this minyan, we realize that there are many women who do not realize such a minyan exists. We encourage those interested to take part in this new opportunity, and hopefully, women will continue to have their religious needs met on the uptown campus.
Adi Cohen and Davida Kollmar