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The Sanctity of the Synagogue: The Case for Mechitzah-Separation Between Men and Women in the Synagogue-Based on Jewish Law, History and Philosophy, Paperback – March, 1987

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 573 pages
  • Publisher: Ktav Pub Inc; 3 Rev Exp edition (March 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881251135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881251135
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,536,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By R. Stein on March 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book compellingly presents the case that Baruch Litvin brought all the way up to the Michigan Supreme Court against the congregation of his synagogue in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. The synagogue members voted to remove the mechitzah (the physical separation between the men and womens' sections of the synagogue sanctuary). Under Jewish law, it is forbidden to pray in a synagogue without a mechitzah. Litvin thus contended that in removing the mechitzah, he would be deprived of the beneficial use of the synagogue (in addition, there were no other Orthodox synagogues in Mt. Clemens at that time). Litvin prevailed in court and this volume richly documents the court case and its aftermath as well as the historic, rabbinic and halachic background behind the mechitzah. One caveat--this is a reference book, with sometimes repetitive sources--not necessarily a book to sit down and read straight through.
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Format: Paperback
The 3rd revised & expanded edition includes the following new material on the subject of Mechitzah (separate seating): A translation of all the teshuvos (responses) available on the subject of Mechitzah by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, zt'l; 4 Los Angeles Mechitzah stories; A historic introduction by Lawrence Schiffman; An appreciation of Baruch Litvin by his granddaughter Jeanne Litvin, editor of the revised and expanded third edition; A conclusion by Lawrence Shiffman.
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Format: Paperback
This book has become the English reference source on the subject of the mechitzah as Baruch Litvin has compiled all of the authoritative historical, legal and philisophical sources on the subject. His struggle is also quite inspirational as many people in the synagogue could not forgive him for preventing the removal of the mechitzah. As others have pointed out, the book is a bit too dense to read cover to cover but it it is the best resourse on the subject-anyone wondering about the significance of the mechitzah and why it is indispensible to the holiness of a synagogue must read this book.
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