Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld of Harvard Hillel Leads All-women's Seder

April 12, 2003

Source: Boston Globe

On April 12, 2003 the Boston Globe published an interview with Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld in which she discussed the participation of women in the ritual of Seder. The article reported that "While attending an Israeli Seder years ago, Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld started to read a blessing. An Orthodox man, declaring that it violated religious law for a woman's voice to be heard at the Passover meal, covered his ears and sang while she spoke. For years, women typically were left with tasks such as cooking for the Seder but were denied the right to lead its rituals and prayers commemorating the Israelites' escape from slavery in Egypt. Tomorrow, as education and programming director for Harvard Hillel, Anisfeld will lead an all-women's Seder, a small but growing practice sparked by the feminist movement. Most such Seders exclude men; some invite them, but give women the leaders' roles. Anisfeld is co-editor with Tara Mohr and Catherine Spector of The Women's Seder Sourcebook and The Women's Passover Companion (Jewish Lights Publishing) in which scholars, rabbis, and activists describe new rituals and scriptural interpretations that women have brought to Passover, which begins Wednesday."