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O.U. Won’t Take Action Against Synagogues With Female Clergy Until After High Holidays

The Orthodox Union will not make a decision until at least mid-October on what to do about member congregations that continue to flout its new rules banning female clergy, the group’s executive vice president told the Forward.

The Forward reported Thursday that advocates were worried that the group would take up the issue at its board meeting next Wednesday.

“This item is not going to be on the Wednesday agenda,” OU executive vice president Allan Fagin told the Forward on Friday morning. “It is not going to be taken up until at the earliest after Sukkot.”

Sukkot, the last of the Jewish high holidays, ends on October 11.

“No recommendation has been made to the board,” Fagin said.

In February, the OU adopted a policy barring women from serving as clergy at any of its 400 member congregations across North America.

As of early September, at least five congregations are bucking that rule. OU leadership met with leaders of many of those congregations over the summer. None appear to have backed down.

The conflict over female clergy has drawn deep divisions within the OU, with factions clashing over the advisability of the move.

It’s unclear what action the OU will take next month on the congregations with female clergy.

“I can’t tell you what’s going to happen,” Fagin said. “It’s not going to get taken up until at least after the High Holidays are over.”

Contact Josh Nathan-Kazis at or on Twitter, @joshnathankazis.




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