New 'Hecksher' for Ordination of Orthodox Women Rabbis

When Rabbi Avi Weiss announced in May that he is opening a center for the training of female Orthodox clergy, it was heralded by many as a watershed moment.

At the Kolech conference in Jerusalem earlier this month, women’s ordination was much-discussed, the idea endorsed by Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun, and participants decided that female Orthodox clergy should be called “Rabba.” Kolech is an Israeli religious feminist organization. Writer Elana Sztokman blogs about the conference here.

These developments have been important, yes, but not altogether unexpected from the people involved, and haven’t struck me as the big breakthrough needed for the issue not to remain marginal to the mainstream Orthodox community. But reading this new article in the current issue of The Jewish Press, though, made me say “wow.”

In his opinion piece Rabbi Michael Broyde — a widely respected mainstream Orthodox rabbi, lawyer, rabbinical court judge and expert on halacha, and not someone most would describe as progressive — argues cogently for the formal training of women as Orthodox clergy (although he says they shouldn’t be given the same title as men):

Rabbi Broyde’s piece, to me, marks the beginning of public acceptance of female rabbis, no matter what their title, by the heart of the American Orthodox community.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

New 'Hecksher' for Ordination of Orthodox Women Rabbis

Thank you!

This article has been sent!