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Female Yeshiva Students Wear Tefillin in School With Rabbi’s Permission

SAR High School allowing students to wrap tefillin during all-girls meetings

Stephanie Butnick
January 22, 2014
SAR High School in Riverdale, N.Y.(Wikipedia)
SAR High School in Riverdale, N.Y.(Wikipedia)

Two female students at SAR High School in Riverdale, N.Y. have been granted permission to wear tefillin during a daily all-girls meeting. The Modern Orthodox yeshiva decided last month to allow the female students to wrap tefillin—a daily act required for observant men, and whose use by women has been interpreted differently by different strains of Jewish thought.

According to the Forward, the head of the school sent an email to faculty explaining the decision:

“I have given permission to two female students… to put on tefillin during tefilah,” Rabbi Harcsztark wrote Dec. 8, in an email to the school’s faculty, obtained by The Boiling Point. “They do so every day and have not been permitted to do so in school until now. “I believe that it is halachically permissible although it is a communally complicated issue.”

Ramaz, a Modern Orthodox school in Manhattan, has announced they will allow interested female students to wear tefillin during the school’s co-ed prayer sessions. It’s not the first time female students at the two schools have been allowed to wrap tefillin, though at Ramaz it would be the first opportunity for female students to do so outside a single-sex environment.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.