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For Men Only

We are told that the carefully worded, hard-to-decipher resolution on the role of women in Orthodox Judaism was approved by the Rabbinical Council of America on April 27 without a single murmur of opposition. That’s what we are told, anyhow.

You have to take it on faith, because the RCA decided to bar the public, and the press, from its entire three-day annual convention. There’s a deep irony here, of course, in that the conference consisted of men talking only to other men about women, who were barred from the room.

But there’s also a troubling lack of transparency. As our colleague, Gary Rosenblatt, editor of The Jewish Week, wrote: “Precluding the media from reporting on the range of presentations, and the dynamics of decision-making, is a step backward for an organization seeking greater credibility with its constituency.”

In the past, Rosenblatt noted, the RCA courted press coverage of its annual conferences. Not this year. Its message — in Rosenblatt’s words, “stay away and we’ll let you know about the resolution on women after the vote” — only reinforces the sense that this is a secret, exclusive club. Perhaps that was the point all along.

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