Confirmation, Shaarey Tphiloh, Portland, 1938


Orthodox Jewish synagogues separate men and women in worship with a divider called a mechitza.  According to Jewish law, males are obligated in time-bound commandments while women are exempt, and therefore men take on greater roles in the prayer service. 

Shaarey Tphiloh congregation adhered to traditional laws of Orthodox Judaism, but also dealt with the acculturation of the congregation to American life.  Women took on greater roles in the congregation as time went on.  Confirmation ceremonies for girls were followed by bat mitzvah ceremonies, in which the laws were tweaked to allow for greater women’s participation.  

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