Aug 2, 1997 - 14:11 -
I have a question:
Thanks for your question, Ed.
The answer is: none whatsoever. From a halachic standpoint, your daughter is correct to not permit herself to be counted. The practice at less traditional Conservative-affiliated synagogues is not based on halachic tradition. That is why some Conservative-affiliated synagogues still do not do it.
A good introductory book on the halachic theories involved is Women in Jewish Law by Rachel Biale. A good book for organizing women's prayer groups is Women at Prayer -- A Halachic Analysis of Women's Prayer Groups , by Avram Weiss. (By "women's prayer groups" I mean services led by women in which uniquely feminine spirituality and halachic norms are both respected.) For a cogent presentation of the case against Rabbi Weiss's permissive conclusions, see Chapter 5 of Contemporary Halachic Problems, vol. III, by J. David Bleich.
See also the Conservative movement's own "Tomeikh kaHalacha -- Responsa of the Panel of Halakhic Inquiry, vol. I" edited by Wayne Allen, published 1986.
None of the above find any sources that would permit counting women in a minyan. (It is a popular misnomer to refer to a women's prayer group as a "women's minyan".)