Chief Rabbinate Refuses To Seat Orthodox Women For Jewish Law Exam by the Forward

Chief Rabbinate Refuses To Seat Orthodox Women For Jewish Law Exam

Image by Naomi Zeveloff

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.

Rabbinate Won’t Seat Orthodox Women For Jewish Law Exam

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. 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 or repeat offenders 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

Chief Rabbinate Refuses To Seat Orthodox Women For Jewish Law Exam

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close