The Religious Services Ministry is waiting for a halachic ruling before deciding whether to allow women to give eulogies in cemeteries, even though a ministerial committee authorized them to do so, a ministry official said Wednesday.
“It is unthinkable that a halachic ruling” — a rabbinic ruling on a point of Jewish law — “should dictate a government ministry’s decision,” said Culture Minister Limor Livnat, head of the interministerial task force set up to deal with a recent spate of ultra-Orthodox violence and discrimination against women. “I will not allow it.”
A ministerial committee to advance the status of women decided a few weeks ago that the Religious Services Ministry should amend the licenses of the burial societies, known as chevra kadishas, to clearly state that women may accompany the dead to their graves and eulogize them at funerals.
But when Livnat’s task force held its first meeting in the Knesset yesterday, Deborah Eiferman of the Religious Services Ministry told it, “we are waiting for [Chief Sephardi] Rabbi Shlomo Amar’s halachic ruling on the matter.”