I am Frank Ephraim King, known to most as “FE” or Effie. I hope you will look forward to my out of the box perspectives on life in the Big Lion (of Judah)!
I have been actively involved in feminism since my college days at University of Florida in Gainesville and am currently active in movements, such as Amika-Debira (R Avraham Leader), Shira Hadasha, and Women of the Wall (WOW), and the supporting men’s group Men of the Women of the Wall (MOWOW). We are simultaneously committed to Halacha (Jewish law and tradition) alongside empowering women in their Journey Toward Fulfillment. As a former campus activist for (Anatoly) Nathan Sharansky’s freedom and right to practice Judaism and was inspired by Nathan’s struggle and motivated to delve deeper into the Judaism Nathan could not take for granted.
We were partners, free American college students and Jews living in fear in the totalitarian Soviet Union. We needed them even more than they needed us! Their external struggle electrified our internal struggle.
Last fall I celebrated my 25 year Aliya anniversary as WOW celebrated their 25-year struggle and achievements. WOW arranged a special study day attended by women and men identified with all streams from non-affiliated to Orthodox. Since women are not * yet * allowed to bring a Torah scroll into the women’s section, women were called up to bless and read the Torah during the afternoon Mincha service.
And here was the surprise. Though held in a Conservative synagogue, we men were asked to move to the back … out of deference to … the Orthodox women of WOW. WOW is a diverse microcosm of Judaism’s diversity. The women are diverse and so are we men. Yet we are all united … and partners … in empowering all who seek their spiritual fulfillment and religious equality at one of Judaism holiest sites.
Last week I donned a new tallit symbolizing the rainbow of Freedom and Renewal. My excitement kept me up Monday night and on Tuesday I made my monthly minibus ride to the Wall. As the sun came up over the Temple Mount and our minibus entered the Old City we all sang Songs of Freedom. I donned my tallit and tefillin … and my headset so I could help my fellow men form our own minyan and back up the larger women’s minyan in front of us.
I get a similar feeling every week in a Partnership Minyan. We men sing our prayers together with the women and raise our eyes to the heights! And lift our souls to become better people by our partnership with them.
We hope to add as many new voices as we can to our new group Men of the Women of the Wall (MOWOW). Please become part of our special community.
Wherever you are and whatever your physical and spiritual homes are … please join us empowering others and ultimately liberating ourselves in this Month and Festival of Freedom!
Happy New Month of Nisan and Season of Miracles!