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Founding Rabbi Retires From Yeshiva That Trains Female Religious Judges

A prominent Modern Orthodox rabbi is retiring from the Israeli religious school network he founded that broke new ground in the religious education of Jewish women.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin is stepping down as chancellor of the Ohr Torah Stone network, which he founded when he moved to Israel in 1983. Riskin, 77, will be replaced by Rabbi Kenneth Brander, the vice president for university and community life at Yeshiva University.

Ohr Torah Stone, based in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, is comprised of 24 educational institutions across Israel. It is notable for its educational programs for women, including the first-ever seminaries that train women to become poskim (arbiters of religious law) and advocates in Israeli rabbinical courts.

“Rabbi Brander is the perfect choice to lead this organization,” Riskin said in a statement.

Riskin expects to remain active in Jewish life, which was cheered by Sharon Weiss Greenberg, the executive director of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance.

“I am confident that Rabbi Riskin will continue to be a great leader for justice and inclusivity,” she told the Forward in a statement.

She added that Brander “has been supportive for women’s leadership and learning opportunities in the past, and I would imagine that an organization which has been taking the lead in progressing the level of scholarship and roles for women in Israel will flourish.”

Contact Aiden Pink at or on Twitter, @aidenpink




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