Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Chief Rabbinate Refuses To Seat Orthodox Women For Jewish Law Exam

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A group of four Orthodox Jewish women has threatened to take the Chief Rabbinate to Israel’s highest court after their request to take an official rabbinate exam in family purity laws was rejected with no explanation.

The exam was held Thursday; the women were not allowed to sit for it.

A rabbinate clerk, speaking to a representative of the ITIM organization, said in response to the women’s request that “These are the rabbinate instructions” and “There is no option for women to take the test.” The representative of ITIM, a nonprofit that guides Israelis through the country’s religious bureaucracy, recorded the conversation, which is legal.

The women have been studying and teaching Jewish law for many years. Passing the exams, which are taken by thousands of men during the process of rabbinical ordination and are also in some professions the equivalent of an academic degree, could enable them to increase their pay grade in certain positions or apply for civil servant positions.

ITIM’s director, Rabbi Seth Farber, called the policy of not allowing the women to sit for the exam “illegal.”

In a letter to the director of the examination department at the Chief Rabbinate, Rabbi Yehuda Glickman, the women and ITIM called for an explanation of the rejection and noted they have been teaching on the subject for years in high-level seminaries for women.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.