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Rabbi Sara Hurwitz is the first orthodox woman Rabbi – is this wrong or just against the status quo?

Rabbi Sara Hurwitz is the first woman to be ordained as an orthodox Rabbi, this was done by Rabbi Avi Weiss in Riverdale – which most of the frum people I know view as a non-orthodox Rabbi. I don’t even bring it up anymore in conversation, since people just start to bash him without knowing much about them or anyone that even attended their programs. Now of course, they are getting a true beating after ordaining a woman Rabbi, and I am curious about the halachic ramifications of this decision.

I personally think that it’s fine for women to be rabbis, but what do I know? Does it say anywhere that women can’t be rabbis and if it does say it why not? Just because a woman is a rabbi doesn’t mean she is on the pulpit, think about it, I don’t really know of any orthodox shul that would hire a woman as a Rabbi – and if they do, where will she sit?

Of course I understand the issues people are having, first of all, this may prove that women have brains and that they should be in leadership positions – that may make problems for the glass ceiling that has been in place amongst the orthodox community forever. First women want to be rabbis and than what? Maybe they will demand leave of the kitchen and baby making and then we are all screwed.

Seriously, I understand the angst, the fear and the disgust the breaking of tradition, the fears of feminism – but I truly wonder if the problem is just based on the men wanting to keep the power. Think about it, the seforim (besides for the one’s on mikvah and niddah) were and are written by men and all of the bans, chumros and halachic rulings that come out of orthodoxy are all from men. It just seems kind of fishy to me that there are so many capable women that may have interesting points of view and their opinions or rulings are never heard of.

I would love to see some debates of yore, like when the priest called in the rabbi to debate about God. Well what if some big Gadol decided to see if this Rabbi Sara Hurwitz was learned and called for a public debate, or gemara learning contest? That would be very cool and could elevate the coolness of learning, it could be billed as a kiruv event.

Although Rabbi Avi Weiss is set to be denounced today by the RCA, I think we can judge by the fact that they waited almost a month before deciding to do so really tells us that some folks mainstream orthodoxy are actually excited by the fact that a woman will be a full fledged orthodox Rabbi.

Food for thought: Think of all the folks that are scared away from orthodoxy, because of it’s male centric traditions, now think of all the folks that may want to keep a kosher home, keep family purity laws and walk to shul on shabbos – just because they have seen that orthodoxy has different sects within itself and they can relate to this left wing brand. There are two sides to every story.

My friend Avi: a conservative Jew and scholar on the subject of conservative Jewry, told me that Rabbi Avi Weiss and most of modern orthodoxy is just conservative Judaism and he says that no matter what they call themselves they are still aligned with the conservative movement. Many orthodox Jews are saying similar things, but most orthodox Jews don’t know much about the conservative movement.

Update: I have been informed that YCT has nothing to do with this

{ 126 comments… add one }
  • Lamah Attah Sho'el Et Shim-mee? February 24, 2010, 12:45 PM

    It’s definitely not an instance of Orthodox Judaism in action, but it just might be one of *Torah Judaism* in action.

    • susitna February 24, 2010, 12:52 PM


    • shoeless February 24, 2010, 1:49 PM

      The definition of orthodox is strictly keeping to traditional doctrine and ritual. So that means moshe rabeinu kept the same traditions and followed the same doctrine as the ORTHODOX but i dont think moshe practiced “Torah Judaism” or maybe he did or maybe she did we will never know until the messiah comes i guess thats why they call it faith.

      • 1 Lamah Attah Sho'el Et Shim-mee? February 24, 2010, 8:15 PM

        I halfway wish that I possessed your myopic (and I do not mean that perjoratively) view vis-a-vis Judaism.

    • Ilana February 24, 2010, 4:11 PM


  • Meir February 24, 2010, 12:50 PM

    Of course, my guess is Avi’s point is more that Conservative Judaism, at least as laid out and as practiced by observant Conservative Jews, is not nearly as heretical as many modern Orthodox may think.

    Whereas the point when made by the Orthodox is presumably that modern Orthodoxy is becoming heretical

    • Heshy Fried February 24, 2010, 12:54 PM

      We could probably argue that Ultra Orthodoxy is becoming much more heretical with it’s complete disregard for keeping the peace within Judaism and elsewhere. The rioting, scandals and cover ups seem pretty antithetical to Judaism.

      • shoeless February 24, 2010, 1:20 PM

        In every society There’s a woman’s role and a man’s role just because American society takes that to mean that men have a more meaningful role doesn’t mean it’s true .

        • STLsam February 24, 2010, 4:48 PM

          it’s way easy to say that when one gender gets to make the rulings on the texts that define the gender roles.

      • Meir February 24, 2010, 5:36 PM

        Certainly the covering up of sexual abuse is pretty antithetical to Judaism, as this would presumably (at the very least because of the prohibition of male-on-male sex which seems to be 99% of the time what it is, though I would guess primarily because of issues of easier access) fall into the category of prohibited sexual practices not allowed even to save one’s life.

    • Avi M February 24, 2010, 5:45 PM

      While not what I was specifically going for when Hesh and I were discussing this last week. I think you are spot on regarding my take on the subject.

    • SF2K1 February 25, 2010, 10:33 AM

      I have a very good friend that is conservative and his practice is as good as any frum person. His beliefs are generally as frum as anyone else’s. He grew up conservative so he associates with conservative, and calls himself conservative, even while basically acting and believing like an orthodox person. That’s just a label, although I’d say he’s in denial.

      The movement itself however is totally heretical in it’s beliefs, and that’s not even to mention how most people involved in the movement are no where near as observant as my friend.

      As one of my professors once put it, you can be Reform and be totally observant as they believe in learning about mitzvahs before you do them. It’s just that most of them never get around to learning and making a choice to take them on.

      • Esther March 19, 2010, 9:41 AM

        Someone, Hesh perhaps, ought to try and organize all the different terms floating around to label the different sub-groups and levels of Judaism:

        -modern orthodox
        -ultra orthodox

        My head is spinning trying to get a handle on this.

        My background. Emigrated to US at age of 14 and ended up in a Yeshiva with no prior knowledge of Jewish culture and traditions. Every morning we spent three hours davening, but here’s the kicker – not once were we ever told what the words in the prayers mean!!!!! Basically, we were expected to memorize and blindly recite. That did not sit well with me – I need to know the meaning of words coming out of my mouth, especially if I am to say them with passion and conviction. Does that make me Reform? Since I want to learn why things are done (words are said) before doing (saying)???

  • kissmei'mshomer February 24, 2010, 12:56 PM

    Three cheers for Chovivei!
    Mazal tov, Rabbi Hurwitz!

  • Little Pom's Mom February 24, 2010, 1:08 PM

    Mazel Tov for Rabbi Hurwitz!!

    May this be the beginning of a new age in Orthodoxy. The prohibitions against female clergy is one of the reason’s we are not Orthodox, as much as we strive to keep to the rest of Halakah.

  • Mazal Tov February 24, 2010, 1:08 PM

    Bec she doesnt have the male anatomy, she cant be a rabbi ???

    She’s prob smarter and more knowledgeable than MOST (if not all) others. I’m sure that there are people who would feel more comfortable asking her shaylos than asking their “local orthodox rabbi”.

    • shoeless February 24, 2010, 1:25 PM

      How rght you are she must be smarter than most others because she is an ordained rabbi who got smicha from some random yeshiva in riverdale who’s orthodox status is questionable but yah hesh you think i can get her email address i have some bosser veholov questions and i dont trust anybody who has a penis.

      • Michaltastik February 24, 2010, 7:17 PM

        I think the point was that if she was the one who broke through, she had to be strong (in Torah knowledge) to do it.

        • rebeccah February 26, 2010, 1:01 PM

          from what i know (and i know many people connected to her) she has learned the standard rabbinic curriculum of shabbas, kashrut, and niddah three times over – that’s why they felt they had to take this step of giving her the title of Rabba (specifically not Rabbi) because it was getting to be too much already – how much did she have to learn before she got some acknowledgment?

  • Dave February 24, 2010, 1:25 PM

    I know I’m one of the people who was brought in because of the Avi Weiss and Sara Hurwitz. It was only recently I wanted to learn more about Judaism, and one of the first stories I saw on Orthodoxy was about Sara Hurwitz being given the title Maharat. It seemed to me Orthodoxy wasn’t as backward as I thought and after that I started learning about MO and what they stand for. LWMO has the power to bring in Conservative and Liberal Jews who are serious about their faith but don’t want to join or be associated with the more right wing/black hat group. After all, their mothers will worry about them frumming out 🙂

  • chevramaidel February 24, 2010, 1:42 PM

    I think the whole idea of what a rabbi is and does has been twisted and overblown in the last century. When we think of a rabbi today, we see a person in a prominent public role in the synagogue and the community. And most orthodox Jews, especially rabbis, are adamantly opposed to a woman playing such a public role. How would a woman lead men in prayer in a shul where the sexes are separated? But if we look back at the traditional model of a rabbi – one who answers questions of halacha, teaches and inspires – there is nothing there a woman is incapable of doing in an orthodox environment. Many women would feel more comfortable bringing their halachic questions to a woman, especially those of a personal nature. How many frum women posken for themselves rather than expose their problems to a strange man? To me, the only question seems to be one of title.

    • AriEliyah February 24, 2010, 2:49 PM

      Very interesting, “Chevramaidel.”

    • Sarah February 24, 2010, 3:32 PM

      Very well said! I completely agree with you chevramaidel.

    • Ilana February 24, 2010, 4:14 PM

      You have a great point! I think in these terms, a woman rabbi is even more important- now in Orthodoxy single-sex services can be held, and led by an expert in liturgy and halakhah.

    • Michaltastik February 24, 2010, 7:21 PM

      A married woman in Riverdale told me she takes her stuff to Sarah when it has to go somewhere because she feels weird having her husband take it to the rabbi for her.

      • DrumIntellect February 24, 2010, 9:39 PM

        Women in other Jewish communities take personal questions to trusted female leaders all the time. The only change is a title and prestige.

    • Ben February 24, 2010, 11:22 PM

      Stated by my Chabad Rabbi, on a trip to Crown Heights:

      “A rabbi only means that you are qualified to render halachic decisions.”

    • MoDox Girl March 12, 2010, 12:49 PM

      I agree with you chevramaidel. To my knowledge, her title is NOT Rabbi, but Mahara”t which stands for Manhiga Hilchatit, Ruchanit, Toranit leader in halachic, spiritual, pastoral counseling and teaching Torah. It is practically what a Rabbi is, but none of the leading services in shul stuff.

  • Drew Kaplan February 24, 2010, 1:57 PM

    Three things:
    1) She is not a Rabbi – she is a Rabba.
    2) YCT did not ordain her; YCT does not ordain women.
    3) What’s with those folks who start bashing YCT without knowing anything about it….sad.

    • Radical Centrist February 24, 2010, 7:47 PM

      Drew, if you want to make distinction number one, technically speaking I would argue that few if any rabbanim merit the title of Rabbi, at least from my perspective.

      In a more general sense, I believe that a Torah scholar is not automatically entitled to the title of Rav unless I (or whoever is speaking) calls them such. Thus, while I might believe Ms. Hurwitz is fully entitled to the title, you may not, and it is up to each of us individually to make that judgement.
      – RC

  • Dave February 24, 2010, 2:16 PM

    Also, Conservative and Reform weren’t founded for Egalitarian purposes, it took both movements a long time before they accepted women rabbis. They were founded do to away with onerous and difficult Jewish Laws (like no driving on the sabbath and Kashrut). In contrast, Avi Weiss is trying to expand positions of power to women while not compromising Halacha. He’s not saying the Torah isn’t divine in origin or some laws don’t apply, just that we should work within Halacha to reflect changing circumstances.

    • Meir February 24, 2010, 5:26 PM

      Conservative (or at least JTS) was actually founded as a reaction against Reform, not a ‘reforming’ of Orthodoxy.

      Certainly, saying they were founded to do away with driving on Shabbat is laughable; Reform was founded in the early/mid 19th century when there were no automobiles at all, and Conservative (the United Synagogue of America) was officially founded in 1913, when Jews in suburbia [i.e. not within walking distance of shuls] were basically non-existent, and relatively few people anywhere had automobiles. Jews particularly didn’t because we were quite ghettoized in those days (in 1918 the American Jewish Committee’s estimates had 90% of Jews living in a municipality with over 5000 Jews), and at any rate, the ruling on automobiles (which was rationalized as better to go to synagogue in a car than the alternative of not going [and as a result, probably losing any connection to Judaism) was in the late 1940s.

      As for kashrut, are you talking about fully and completely accepting leniencies on glatt, on chalav Yisrael in the U.S., etc.?

      • Dave February 24, 2010, 8:13 PM

        2 things: One I know Conservative was founded in response to Reform Judaism trying to take the centrist path. It was also founded in response to Orthodox Judaism, but its main impetus was Reform.

        Two: I never said Conservative or Reform were founded specifically to do away with the driving thing. What I said was they were founded to make Jewish life easier on their constituents. An example of this can be found in the driving ruling. Obviously this ruling came a while after Conservative had been founded when it became more liberal. I’m sure you can find more example of Conservative taking a more lenient approach closer to their founding.

        When Reform was founded they did away with Kashrut (although its coming back now). The rabbis used to eat lobster and scallops at conferences. Conservative is obviously stricter and it does a disservice to Conservative Jews to not differentiate them from Reform Jews.

        My main point still stands, they were founded to make Jewish law easier not for egalitarian purposes. Their leniency led to egalitarianism. In contrast, Weiss is trying to increase egalitarianism while staying within halacha. Basic logic says that just because P implies Q, it doesn’t mean Q implies P.

        • SF2K1 February 25, 2010, 10:38 AM

          It depends if you’re conservadox or reformative. The movement is stricter, but the movement is extremely out of touch with it’s constituents. You can’t tell any significant difference between most attendees of Conservative and Reform services. That’s part of the reason the movement is falling apart. People who care only a little are being pulled into reform or secularism or chabad (at least as a synagogue to go to where they don’t need to pay membership and feel more in touch), and people who care so much that they want to be observant tend to become BT and such.

  • Nonsense! February 24, 2010, 2:21 PM

    Do rabbis not realize that women also have a sex drive? Seeing all those men around, daaaaancing, sweating, their mustache hair curling over their upper lip, practically flossing their teeth… ooooh yaaaa baby

    • Phil February 24, 2010, 3:07 PM


      OK. Maybe the guy will actually want to have the rabbi on their shoulders for hakafos.

  • Avi M February 24, 2010, 2:27 PM


    Have not read the post yet but want to make it clear that in no way am I scholar!! I just hang out with some imo smart people and read lots of books, which I then like to think about and discuss with others. That being said I will take your use of the term ‘scholar’ as a compliment. Now let me go an read this post of yours!

    • Avi M February 24, 2010, 3:24 PM

      Ok I read the post and I want to clear something up. Yes I did say its “Conservative” but I didn’t mean they are the same as USCJ or the CJ denominational brand. I meant to say that at its foundation (historically) CJ suggests that Jewish tradition and law has a history and when that history is looked at its pretty clear that Halacha has been a dynamic and flexible system, one that has responded and adapted to the ever-changing socio-economic conditions, faced by the Jewish people throughout its history. In this way, yes I think there is little difference between people like Ravs Weiss and Hartman and the foundational ideas of CJ because to my minds eye, they approach things in very much the same fashion. I am not in any way suggesting that LWO or OO are the same as the CJ of the last 50 years, because I dont think they are! I do however believe they are actually dealing with Jewish Law in a very authentic way. My comments to you had nothing to do with Denominational branding. It was more about their orientation to Jewish law and how they go about understanding and applying it.

      But thats just my take people can see things however they choose to.
      As for this issue of gender equality and Orthodoxy its not something that directly affects me in any way because, Im not part of that world. But I do know its a big issue and one which is being (or attempting to be) wrestled with by many different people who come from the OJ world. Who know what will happen? It is very possible that those (who claim to) hold ownership of the OJ brand will simply end up pushing people like Rav Weiss out of Orthodoxy but Im not sure that really matters. Because I believe that authentic Judaism runs much deeper than any of Judaisms current denominational entities.

      Anyhow Im done ranting.

      Oh, one last thing, here is a link to an MP3 of a great panel discussion which IMO gets to the heart of this issue. It doesnt resolve anything but it sure opens things up for discussion and thought!


      Minyanim, Halacha, and Modern Orthodoxy

      • s(b.) February 25, 2010, 4:05 AM


      • OrangeCountyPerson February 25, 2010, 3:57 PM

        Main Difference between LW M Orthodox and Conservative is that the Conservative rabbi will see a science magazine as being just as binding on halacha as a Teshuva from a well respected Rabbi.

        As far as I know, LW MO still believes that the science magazine does not have a say in Halacha.

        • Meir February 26, 2010, 1:51 AM

          But the Haredi rabbi of Modi’in Illit Moshe Karp’s ban on salmon, which was listened to intently by other Haredi gedolim instead of being laughed off, was based on ‘science’ (I put science in quotes since as far as I can tell, the scientific consensus on roundworms says they only mature AFTER their fish host is eaten by a mammal, which means that applying the scientific consesus to the Gemara [Chullin 67b], Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Deah 84:16) and Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (who refused to issue a teshuva on the matter, claiming the Shulchan Aruch was crystal-clear) says that salmon is just as kosher as it always was).

          Though I guess LW MO and the Haredim disagree on a lot of other stuff as well.

        • Avi M February 26, 2010, 2:58 PM

          OCP Thats a broad statement. Not saying it isn’t true but mind producing some sourced documentation to support your point. By that mean RA or CJLS stuff. One (or for that matter 20) independent Rabbi doesn’t equal an official position. Not sure your comment is accurate.

  • Anonymous February 24, 2010, 2:29 PM

    See Rabbi Gil Student’s recent post where even a Reform rabbi ‘paskened’ that there can’t be female rabbis.

  • Phil February 24, 2010, 2:56 PM

    I guess it really boils what the ramifications of her being a rabbi really are.

    In our community, the beth din has allowed women to bring niddah questions to a particular woman that they tested and found competent enough to answer halachic issues. She also happens to be a nurse and midwife.

    I don’t think any orthodox Beth din will allow a she-rabbi (shabbi?) to serve as a judge, or Av (in this case “eim”) Beth din.

    Also, if she’s becomes a pulpit rabbi, she might be on thin ice in regards to tznius related issues. Besides, what ortho synagogue would want their rabbi on the wrong side of the mechitza?

    • Racheli February 25, 2010, 12:58 PM

      “Wrong” side of the mechitza?

  • DrumIntellect February 24, 2010, 3:06 PM

    This isn’t a radical idea. There have been women rabbis before.
    They dealt with the yichud/modesty issues by having private sessions in a public place (under a tree), or through the use of a mechitzah.
    From what I can tell, the whole “issue” is just noise.
    True, according to traditional Orthodox Judaism women are not required to learn torah, but, that doesn’t mean they or not allowed or that they are incapable of learning.
    I’ve met some dumb rabbis and some very intelligent women. I’m sure if these women focused on Torah study for a month or two they’d be a safer bet.

  • Hugh Dick February 24, 2010, 3:26 PM

    You asked, “Does it say anywhere that women cant be rabbis and if it does say it why not?”

    The answer to your question depends on the definition of what a rabbi is. If one thinks that a rabbi is a master of ceremonies directing traffic in a synagogue and giving a sermon, then a barrier according to Jewish Law is probably the concept of tznius (modesty), which requires that a woman focus her activities in a more private forum. It is difficult to set concrete borders to that idea, but it is widely utilized in halachic literature.

    If one thinks of a rabbi as a communal leader with authority, then one must deal with the Rambam (Hilchos Melachim 1:5) “One may not appoint a woman as king … similarly, any other positions in Israel must be only filled by men.”

    If a rabbi means someone who considers serious halachic questions, then although it is theoretically possible to have a female rabbi who has reached that level of knowledge after spending decades dedicated to serious full-time Torah study, nevertheless, she would still need to work around what the Rambam wrote.

  • Pr1ss February 24, 2010, 3:32 PM

    Frum babysweetiehoney,

    The Torah doesn’t talk very much about rabbis, or who can be one, or about having them at all. Mayhap some of your Talmudic scholarly readers can shed light for the rest of us on how this whole Smicha dealypoo got started anyway.

    Fundamentally yours,

    • Phil February 24, 2010, 3:37 PM


      Check the first chapter of Pirkei Avos, Moshe kibel misinai, then gave it to Yehoshua, etc. Rambam goes into the details of who gave it to who until it stopped.

      Today’s smicha isn’t considered smicha anymore, but that’s another issue.

  • Simcha February 24, 2010, 3:54 PM

    I wonder why people say that it’s “bashing” YCT to say that the institution (of which R. Weiss is the rosh yeshiva) gave smicha to a woman. Btw, Mr. Kaplan is right, she is a rabba, not a rabbi, because the Hebrew Language Academy determined last year that rabba is the proper word for a female rabbi.

    The issue with Avi’s point about MO/Conservative is complicated, because there are some issues with Conservative Judaism that mean that it can never be halachic (poor handling of the gay rights issue, driving on Shabbat is permitted), and because it has a twisted way of paskening; it is not nor has it ever been the way to take votes in a committee of rabbis as to which responsa will be “admitted for consideration,” or vote on which way it goes. Not that it’s a big issue, because the conservative movement, as Avi Weiss himself has said when comparing it to his Open Orthodoxy, does not have observant followers, for the most part. I have known rabbis with smicha from JTS who are not shomer shabbat, not even to conservative standards, and I do not personally know any laity who observe kashrut and shabbat strictly, let alone taharat hamishpacha (which, if I recall correctly, is still a mitzvah that conservatives are supposed to follow). I know a lot of conservative Jews, and none of them keep the commandments that MO people do without even thinking about it. What Conservative Jew would ever even dream of covering her hair, or dressing with tzniut?

    Bottom line, Conservative claims to have halacha, which is more than the Reformim do, but it doesn’t matter, because Conservatives don’t follow it anyway.

    • Avi M February 24, 2010, 5:53 PM


      I didn’t claim that MO and CJ are the same and for the record I don’t think they are. I have a comment thats in moderation which I think clarifies what I was trying to say to Hesh last week. hopefully it will be approved soon.

      As for your comment regarding CJ’s and Observance I think (for the most part you are right) you are right! That being said I know more than few self-identified “MO” Jews who are considerably less obervant than many CJs including myself.

    • Purim Hero February 26, 2010, 12:00 PM

      Rabbi Weiss is not the Rosh Yeshiva for YCT. A quick check of YCT’s website yctorah.org will allow you to do some important fact checking before posting your ignorance for all to see.

      The Rosh Yeshiva of YCT is Rabbi Dov Linzer. YCT is a yeshiva that only admits men, and who’s mission is specific to ordaining male orthodox rabbis. YCT has no institutional relationship with HIR and currently the only relationship they do have is a rental agreement to rent space in HIR’s basement to house their beit midrash.

      While Rabbi Weiss does have a title and position with YCT as the founder and force behind its inception a decade ago, his role is administrative primarily (he does teach a wonderful class on Sefer Breishit, as well as an important class on teaching within a pulpit context something which he certainly has expertise in, Halacha is taught by other Rabbayim). The smicha certificates that YCT men get upon their ordination has his signature, but as President, not as the granting Rabbis who are Rabbi Linzer (the Rosh Yeshiva) and Rabbi Love (who was a talmud of Rav Grussman and is the head of the halacha department).

      Point is, trying to pin any of this Rabbah stuff on YCT is simple false. YCT is an institution with a broad spectrum of individuals ranging in hashkafah both amongst the Talmidim and the Rabayim. While certainly there are those who are going to agree with Rabbi Weiss, there are also many in YCT who disagree with him on the Rabbah issue, and do not feel it was a correct action. The thing that makes YCT different and special is that all involved have the Anavah and Middos required to have a machloket l’shem shamayim and abstain from name calling, slandering, fear mongering, and other forms of Lashon Harah. Guess you don’t hear about those discussions though as they just aren’t as sexy.

      • Purim Hero April 15, 2010, 11:49 AM

        Correction on phonetic typo. Rabbi Love was a talmid of Rabbi Yisrael Zev Gustman.

  • chevramaidel February 24, 2010, 4:06 PM

    Question: If the rabbi were on the “wrong” side of the mechitza, would that become the right side?

    • Phil February 24, 2010, 4:10 PM


      Only once they grew d*cks.

      • Ilana February 24, 2010, 4:15 PM

        instead, why don’t you stop being one?

        • Phil February 24, 2010, 4:19 PM


          Do I detect a case of p*nis envy?

          • Ilana February 24, 2010, 4:29 PM

            Really, Phil? Really?

            Maybe you should look in the mirror.

            • Phil February 24, 2010, 4:35 PM


              Just pulling your leg / yanking your chain (pun intended) 😉

      • Michaltastik February 24, 2010, 8:14 PM


  • Ilana February 24, 2010, 4:16 PM

    This is some of the best news I’ve heard in a long time. I’ve been following news of R. Hurwitz’s smicha for a few months and I wish her the most sincere congratulations! This is progress.

  • Steve February 24, 2010, 4:21 PM

    What I don’t understand is why female “rabbis” still take on the title of rabbi, a masculine term.

    • Ilana February 24, 2010, 4:30 PM

      I think it’s because it’s ore universally recognized than “rabba”, therefore lending them more credence.

    • DrumIntellect February 24, 2010, 5:29 PM

      Why do you say “rabbi” is a masculine term?

      If your only issue is the title used, then that’s a bridgeable gap.

      • Phil February 24, 2010, 5:39 PM


        Rabbi is a male term, just like mailman. Women carrying mail could have been mailwomen or shemails, but I guess they preferred the politically correct “postal worker” instead.

        • DrumIntellect February 24, 2010, 5:56 PM

          LOL @ shemails. Nice!

          I prefer mailman for both genders.

  • Saul Lieberman wasn't Reform February 24, 2010, 4:55 PM

    There is an interesting discussion on this issue taking place on the Hirhurim blog run by R. Student that quotes a respona by
    Rabbi (Orthodox semicha) and Professor Saul Lieberman of Jewish Theological Seminary who also opposed women’s greater participation in prayer as well.His relationship with Orthodox Judaism was complex in that he was offered a position upon coming to the United States at Yeshivas Chaim Berlin but chose JTS.

    The discussion on the Hirhurim blog is here: http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2010/02/prof-saul-lieberman-on-womens.html
    The essential argument is semicha in our current day, without the line to Moshe we had before the title Rav refers to the ability to be a dayan even if in practice such a Rabbi would be or not. Lieberman quotes Rambam and the Shulchan Aruch as saying women cannot. Some comments have pointed out some rishonim allowed women to judge but Sefer HaChinuch as well as the Rambam and Shulchuan Disagree. Given the lack of observance of halacha to conservative Jewish lay people(I do know one or two US conservative Jews who will only drive to synagogue on Shabbat but most in practice do not restrict themselves to only this malacha), the Dayan issue was totally irrelevant to the conservative lay leadership and so Conservatives ordain women. But there is an interesting discussion on the blog about the issue of whether the Dayan issue matters generally.

    As R. Benzion Uziel – Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Eretz Yisrael (as Kook was) ruled during the debate over women’s sufferage in the Yishuv – women can vote and can hold public office without violating Rambam’s dictum about not putting women in places of authority because she is not appointed by a Bet Din but instead decided by the public and kavod hatzibur may be the reason women were not placed in positions of authority in the past. I think it is clear women might be serve as Presidents of Synagogue Boards for example, by this logic assuming this a decision decided by synagogue members.

    For more details see the following: http://www.edah.org/backend/coldfusion/journal_images/journal1_2.pdf

    Page 101 in the PDF.

  • Yoshua February 24, 2010, 5:00 PM

    She’s a rabbi is like saying He’s a nun. It’s an oxymoron.

    • DrumIntellect February 24, 2010, 5:54 PM

      Monks are the equivalent to nuns. So, if you want to make that analogy, go ahead and use a different term to describe a female congregation leader.

  • aztecqueen2000 February 24, 2010, 5:44 PM

    A female rabbi? What’s next? Female judges? Female generals? Women singing in public? Not that!!

    Oh, wait, we’ve already had all of that. Never mind!
    (If you don’t believe me, look in Tanach under the story of Devora, who did all of the above.)

  • Fortzn zoffer February 24, 2010, 9:08 PM

    After extensive review, I see no halacha against a woman rabbi so long as she is circumsized, if she marries it must be to a jewish woman, she must wear a tzitizit bra, she can not shave, and she is forbidden to dress in womens clothing or makeup. (I refer you to yentl).

  • old fashioned modern ortho February 24, 2010, 9:55 PM

    Kol hakavod- whatever you wish to be called.

  • Bubba Metzia February 24, 2010, 9:56 PM

    I don’t see why there’s a controversy about women being rabbis. How is this any different than what Rashi’s daughters did?

  • YY February 24, 2010, 11:07 PM

    I agree that we need to think about how liberal non-Orthodox Jews might come into the Orthodox fold, and that having a strong liberal wing to Orthodoxy that is willing to go out on a limb and do things like giving people Rabba ordination will probably help.

    Someone should write a book called Why Liberal Democrat Jews Should Go Orthodox. The thing is, the halachic and hashkafic changes made by the Conservative movement may sound good on paper to people with liberal leanings, but no one follows halachah, few go to shul after they’re bar-mitvah’d, and a large proportion of the kids intermarry. Anything that leads to such little observance and so much intermarriage cannot be a sustainable form of Judaism — a way to make sure the Jewish people continue to exist and grow.

    The only thing left is Orthodoxy. It is much better in my mind to be observant on a Conservative level (or even less observant) but be a member of an Orthodox congregation. This is how Sephardim have traditionally been. And when you have MO congregations where a lot of people are liberal, many of the women have professional careers (both of which already happen, I believe), and some of the women are Jewishly educated enough to do a shiur or write an academic article or to pasken (and perhaps actually get ordination or have some kind of leadership role), then I think this will make Orthodoxy more attractive to liberal Jews.

    But we don’t have to wait until then. Among Catholics, tons of people would like women to be priests and are liberal on all kinds of issues, but they would never think of leaving to join some left-wing Protestant sect. Orthodoxy should strive to be like that, or like Orthodoxy is to the Sephardim/Mizrachim — the only real option.

  • Sergey Kadinsky February 25, 2010, 12:25 AM

    Milestones on the road of progress, as some view it. When Steven Greenberg announced himself as the world’s first openly gay Orthodox rabbi, many in the community responded that with his coming out, he was no longer worthy of being called Orthodox nor a rabbi.

    Same can be said for Sara Hurwitz. She can come out as he world’s first Orthodox female rabbi, and she may get the same response as Greenberg.

    Her personal observance and scholarship are not up for debate, but it’s her title and power to make decisions, read the prayers, and officiate at ceremonies.

    As for Rav Avi Weiss, he still has his Shabbat Forshpeis in the Jewish Press as of this week.

  • SkepticButJewish February 25, 2010, 1:29 AM

    Orthodox Judaism is very clear, I think, that woman cannot be Rabbis. If you study the halachos behind this from Orthodox sefarim then the conclusion is that women cannot be Rabbis. Nor can they hold any of the other positions that are held by men in a synagogue. Therefore, anyone who has a congregation in which women can be Rabbis is not part of Orthodoxy. Our wishful thinking that women can be Rabbis is not accepted under Orthodox Judaism. This is the problem with saying that this shul is an Orthodox shul. For these very reasons I think it is impossible for there be a “left-wing” form of Orthodox Judaism. Orthodox Judaism must be very conservative, otherwise it stops being Orthodox Judaism.

    I do not mean to imply that this is a bad story. I happen to think it is great that the Jewish community is catching up with the rest of the modern world. I am just saying this is not Orthodoxy anymore.

  • Anonymous February 25, 2010, 1:32 AM

    Besula of Ludmir
    (maiden of Ludmir)
    Google it!

  • Daniel February 25, 2010, 11:32 AM

    This whole situation is almost comical. Avi Weiss is no longer an accepted Orthodox Rabbi of any authority. He lost that a long time ago. The term “female orthodox rabbi” is one of the most oxymoronic terms I have ever heard. By definition of their choices these people are no longer orthodox. These groups are now part of the stream of liberal Jewish movements that were based on Judaism. I don’t care how much unobservant Jews rant and scream and stomp their feet those are just the facts. Avi Weiss and Sara Hurwitz are only accomplishing one thing. They have separated themselves from normative Torah Judaism and attached themselves to the “progressives.” Wow, now that in itself is an oxymoronic term come to think of it as there is no progress being made in the “progressive” movements. I think a more accurate term is liberal-distortivism, or the liberal-distortion movement. By the way, that “Yeshiva” that Avi Weiss founded is total treif and completely not accepted by any halachic authorities or any normative Torah Jew organizations. You friend is right, Avi Weiss and his cohorts are now part of the conservaform or reformaserv movement. It really doesn’t matter what you call it. It is all the liberal-distortion movement. Oh, and that line about “some folks [in] mainstream orthodoxy actually [being] excited by the fact that a woman will be a full fledged orthodox Rabbi” is a real killer. No matter what they say, do, or what papers they give this woman she is not, never will be, and can never be a “full fledged orthodox Rabbi.” Next they will have ceremonies to magically turn women in to valid cohanim that will bless the congregation on Yom Kippur and get called up for the first aliyah on Shabbat. I mean, why stop there? And this modern term “feminism”, wow what a crock. There is nothing feminine about wanting to adopt the ceremony and roles given to men to keep them involved and connected to Judaism and Hashem any more than having a man wear a skirt, bake challah, and go to the mikvah once a month after a thorough chafifa would somehow make him masculine. Keep going down this road and next they will be teaching children that snow is black and that they sit on their heads.

    Hey, don’t you think it is fitting that this stuff comes our right before Purim? HA!

    • Sergey Kadinsky February 25, 2010, 9:51 PM

      Having spent a Shabbaton in Riverdale, I remember a mechitza, and all the food as kosher. Your ad hominem attacks do not contribute anything to the conversation.

      At the same time, I agree that rabbi is a role for men.

      • Daniel February 26, 2010, 11:56 AM

        Well, I really don’t care how kosher they APPEAR over in Riverdale any more than I care how kosher a reformaserv, conservaform, messianic-chabadnic, or reconstructionist building or organization appears. We are not discussing appearances. This is about the law as it applies to women taking on roles as discussed previously. The question is about accepted halacha and the abrogation of said halacha to secular non Torah values and ideas.

        Now, given that you have asserted that you are in agreement how about you expound on your single lined statement of support? If you truly agree then you must have more to say about it than that.

  • yosi February 25, 2010, 11:34 AM

    Wow. with my hashkafos, I probably wouldn’t feel comfortable in eating in most homes of the people commenting here…and amazingly enough from what I’m reading, one of the few participants that seems to have any insight or integrity is the wise Avi who is the self proclaimed CJ.

    Avi, yasher koach to you for drawing historically and factually accurate boundaries of today’s denominations. You clearly think objectively and I enjoyed your comments.

    To most other people on here, there doesn’t seem to be any liturgy or halachic reference which green lights women to hold rabbinic positions (however we define it). IMO using Devorah or Rashi’s daughters as proofs is quite weak. A handful of standout exceptions against the grain of hundreds and hundreds of years of mesorah–mesora that started from Sinai? Sorry guys but I don’t buy it.

    • Sergeant J February 26, 2010, 3:46 PM

      So, because it was (almost) never done before, it can never be done? And when is the cot-off point for new concepts? For that matter, when is the cut-off point for using a minority precedent to allow something in Halacha?

    • aztecqueen2000 March 1, 2010, 4:43 PM

      Soooo…Tanach isn’t mesora? Good to know.

  • Talia February 25, 2010, 1:29 PM

    Hilarious comments. I’m serious, all of you, kudos… Haha, shemails… and those guys who think women are a challenge to their wee weewees! HAHA

    Anywho, just thought I would drop this on ya. There is a women’s Ortho sem in Israel that is teaching advanced Talmud, Tanach, etc with a special emphasis on taharas mishpacha. These women would certainly qualify for a smicha at HUC or JTS if they wanted it but they are forging a new role for themselves as educated female leaders in communities. These women are being hired by communities for women to talk to and bring female halachic concerns to. And thank the big G for it! The old way of bringing a stained cloth with mucus and blood on it to show a rabbi who has no medical understanding of what happens down there and doesn’t even have one himself was a little like the male doctors of yore who would treat women for “hysteria” by “manipulating” their genitals… A little misguided and really freaking yucky. I really want a female rabbi to come up with some ruling that embarrasses men like that… weenier discharge, anyone?

    • Phil February 25, 2010, 2:34 PM


      The best way to treat hysterical women is to manipulate their genitals, it works wonders 😉 The reverse is true for men as well.

      • Talia February 25, 2010, 2:49 PM

        Hum… good to know… Going to need to remember that one.

        Oh wait, we can’t talk to each other. This isn’t tznius… I will have to talk about genitals with another woman. Put on a dress?

  • Yerachmiel Lopin February 25, 2010, 2:54 PM

    It is silly for the RCA to go after R. Hurwitz and R. Weiss. Most of them know perfectly well that women can pasken (assuming competency in halachah). That is all smichah is. Giving her this title does nothing. If they objected they should have objected when she got her previous title.

    This is politics. They are trying to intimidate halachic feminists into retreat. Once again these folks make a mockery of halacah by invoking it for non-halachic agendas. The idea that women could become rabbis was common knowledge in the MO rabbinical world 40 years ago during the first whisperings of feminism in the secular world.

    I got truly annoyed about chumrah mongering when I saw that lox and sushi are also being set up for bans. So I wrote a satirical piece for Purim about the rebellion against chumrahs. Check it out.


  • Phil February 25, 2010, 2:59 PM

    Men can talk about genitals all they want, it’s women that aren’t supposed to unless they’re in a nurse uniform.

    Just heard a view that it’s against halacha to crossdress even for Purim.

    • Talia February 25, 2010, 3:05 PM

      Crap! There goes my plans for Purim. I was going to dress like a man dressed like a woman…

      Damn you halacha!

      • Phil February 25, 2010, 3:11 PM

        I said it was a view, not 100% if it’s halacha, check a REAL rabbi.

        At worst, you can always opt for the nurse uniform, then you can discuss genitals with anyone you want.

        • sergeant J February 25, 2010, 9:19 PM

          just heard that Cross-dressing is banned for purim, huh? Aww, did someone have naughty thoughts about a bachur in a skirt?

          • Phil February 25, 2010, 10:03 PM


            Maybe in your (wet) dreams. You’re starting to sound like Avrumy.

            • Sergeant J February 26, 2010, 3:33 PM

              Sorry to disappoint you Phil, but I’m straight.

  • Aliza Hausman February 25, 2010, 3:46 PM

    Rabbi Weiss is the senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale where Rabba Sara Hurwitz is part of the congregational staff and has been for nearly a decade. Though Rabbi Weiss founded Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Rabba Hurwitz was not ordained through YCT (which DOES NOT ordain women) and has no connection to YCT.

    Call me a cynic but I believe that with or without this latest news item, Jews, particularly Orthodox Jews, would find something else to argue about. As a convert, watching the ongoing never-ending infighting is truly sickening.

    • Daniel February 25, 2010, 5:12 PM

      Who cares who worked where. That doesn’t change a thing. It also doesn’t matter how long they worked anywhere. What matters are their actions. And trying to tell Jews not to argue will only get all of the other Jews pissed at you for trying to tell them to quiet down.

      • Meir February 26, 2010, 1:54 AM

        Yes, being loud and argumentative is one of the few traditions of Judaism (and yes, it is certainly a tradition of Judaism, as anyone who’s studied even a small portion of the Mishna and Gemara will admit) which Jews of ALL denominations, from Haredi to Modern Orthodox to Conservative to Reform to Reconstructionist to Humanistic to agnostic to atheist (and everything in between), fully engage in.

    • Avi M February 26, 2010, 3:00 PM

      Me thinks a sad Aliza is a Happy Aliza!

  • Phil February 25, 2010, 3:51 PM


    Who’s fighting? Jews love to argue, and are passinate about their opinion. Just open any mishna of gemara and see for yourself.

    Didn’t they tell that to you when you signed up?

  • Muhammad in Oman February 25, 2010, 9:22 PM

    Heshy, you’re too funny.
    Kissups aside, does anyone acutally read any posts escept for maybe the last one in an 84-comment response?
    By the way, about men writing the religion, so that’s ture up to a point. We must accept that their words are really God’s words…
    I am sure the Devorah Hanevia was Mehadeshet some halachos… and Ester… and Rut… etc.

    • Sergeant J February 25, 2010, 9:35 PM

      Actually, we must make sure their words are not tainted by unholy things before we accept them, or else we are just sheeple like an illiterate Baptist telling you what he knows because the “bah-bell tells me soh..” Or like a literate one who never opened the book, just got oral cliff notes from the pastor…

  • ari February 25, 2010, 10:14 PM

    i have no problem with modern orthodoxy or anything like that but if the torah says woman should not be rabbis then that should not be messed with. simple as that

    • Sergeant J February 26, 2010, 3:31 PM

      Where does the Torah talk about rabbis in the first place, esp the modern version? There are references to something similar, maybe, but “Rabbi” ?

  • shoutoutloud February 27, 2010, 7:40 PM

    Ok, I didn’t have time to read through all of the various ruminations on the differences between Conservative, Reform and Orthodox Jewery, so I might be way off the topic that people are currently discussing, but I do feel compelled to comment, and I hope that’s okay with everybody because I’m a (gasp!) woman.
    I grew up in a Conservative Schul. I learned Torah, Hebrew and halakha since I was 4 years old. My mom did not allow me to go to school (I went to public school, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t listed as an offense in the 613) on holidays and fast days, I kept kosher inside and outside of my home (and yes that means two sets of dishes and everything else) and I used to try and be a good little Jewish girl. Did we drive to schul? Yes. DId this make us sinners or people who weren’t observant enough? No! We went to schul, we prayed, we were just keeping traditions that are different than yours. And according to some of you, that makes us less religious.
    I guess what I’m trying to say here is that it sounds like most of you did not grow up Conservative, so where do you get off waxing poetic about the differences and their various merits according to the Judgement of a couple of Rabbis?
    It’s good to question traditions and values- it’s what makes us sure that the path we’ve chosen is right for us. The only reason people have a problem with this woman becoming a rabbi is because it’s different than their lifestyle and what they grew up with, or they aren’t thinking for themselves and are blindly going along with the view of the masses.

    DANIEL! I CHALLENGE YOU! If you are so halakhakally correct, give me one reason that this woman can’t be a rabbi that is NOT based on the opinion of a Rabbi, but is rather directly sourced from the Torah. What’s that? Can’t find one? YEAH! So what are your views based on? The words and opinions of another person? Are these opinions truly yours, or have you ever stopped to truly think them through and judge for yourself? These are questions everyone should ask themself.
    And yeah, I’m liberal. Therefore I’m also blind, probably having sex with 20 different men and animals, I used a bevy of drugs and I like to feed Jewish babies to Muslims? Oh wait, I’m sorry what does that have to do with what we’re talking about? Oh wait, now I remember that deflecting a question is best done by running around shooting out political buzzwords instead of offering a thoughtful insight into this conversation.
    And Dave, FYI. these are your words verbatim:
    “Also, Conservative and Reform werent founded for Egalitarian purposes, it took both movements a long time before they accepted women rabbis. They were founded do to away with onerous and difficult Jewish Laws (like no driving on the sabbath and Kashrut).”
    C’mon, ladies and gentleman! If you claim to be such a scholar why can’t you remember your own words? The sad thing is they are even written down right here, so if you were confused, you could have gone back and checked. I think I’ve proved my point.

    • David February 28, 2010, 9:22 PM

      I’m sorry I wasnt clear. Let me be clear and restate what I meant to say. Conservative Judaism is all in all, a very good thing. When Conservative Judaism was founded it was Halachic, if not not more lenient. It was more centrist and liberal than Orthodoxy. Reform was founded to do away with some Jewish laws (which they’ve recently taken back) Over time as Conservative Judaism liberalized, it made rulings that put in the non halachic realm.

      My main point was to do away with the fears that this new rabbah title will lead to non-Halachic Judaism by pointing out that Liberal strains of Judaism weren’t founded for egalitarian purposes, and hence LWMO may not go that way.

      Also I grew up a Conservative/Reform Jew (my family switched)

      so in sum:
      1) Conservative Judaism is a good thing! I don’t agree with their ideology, but they’re not bad people and they do good things and mitzvahs. I just don’t agree with them.

      2) Reform was founded to do away with some laws. Conservative as a backlash, but also to liberalize some. Conservative was founded in good faith and within Halacha, it just veered to far left.

      3) Avi Weiss is now where Conservative used to be, but a little further right. Its where I would want to be
      4) I was wrong to lump conservative with reform.

      Also i’m incredibly Liberal too. I support Obama and Kadima/Labor.

    • Daniel March 2, 2010, 2:08 PM
    • Daniel March 2, 2010, 2:13 PM
  • shoutoutloud February 27, 2010, 7:52 PM

    Hey! Hey! Hey….
    Do you guys, just like, spew out what other people tell you, or do you like, actually question your belief system?
    Just checking, Just Checking.
    Oh, and um, I’m liberal, so naturally while I’m writing this, I’m having sex with 20 different men and animals, I’m working on Obama’s secret evil plan to spread his doctrine of Islam and destroy Isreal, , and I like to feed Jewish Babies to Allah on Yom Kippur.
    And Yerachmiel Lopin I’m glad there’s some sort of logic running around in this cluster^%&% of a conversation.
    So quick question: which of you who have commented on Conservative Judiasm are or know intimately Conservative Jews? Did you grow up Conservative or reform? I’m taking a poll so, Ari, Daniel, David and everyone else who likes to make ciclical arguments, please answer truthfully.
    All kidding aside, people are allowed to their own opinions. I think this is a healthy discussion and I’m glad we can engage in it. Even if you believe women shouldn’t be rabbis, at least you are willing to talk about it, which is more than I can say for other sects.

    • David February 28, 2010, 9:25 PM

      I grew up a conservative Jew! 🙂 and i have a reply being posted if it comes up.

  • Yerachmiel Lopin February 28, 2010, 7:29 AM

    Kudos to Agudah! They have managed to come out swinging against something permitted by the shulchan aruch as if they respect the shulchan aruch. Even more importantly they seem poised to get the RCA to jump through hoops as well.

    I love Rabbi Abadi of Lakewood’s site, Kosher.org (not .com) where he answers kosher questions. He imposes no chumrahs. When he answers a question, “permitted”, some neo-fanatic-“so called” frummie, writes in fuming “we don’t do this.” His usual reply is “dont blame me, blame the shulchan aruch.” Sometimes he writes, “don’t tell me what you guys do, show it to me in the shulchan aruch.”

    There is no prohibition on women becoming rabbis. To attempt to find a prohibition, you have to go to Maimonides and then do some arguable extrapolation. But (with the sole exception of Yemenite Jews) we do not pasken according to Maimonides when the Shulchan Aruch rules differently. Any legitimately ordained orthodox rabbi knows as much. There are all sorts of ways in which sexism is part and parcel of halachah, but a ban on women rabbis is not one of them. “Sorry Agudah, don’t blame Avi Weiss, blame the shulchan aruch.”

    I have gotten totally disgusted with this parody of halachic Judaism mislabeled “torah true.” My latest satire is about a counter movement, “True-Torah Judaism-TM” taking over the orthodox world. (http://frumfollies.wordpress.com/2010/02/25/true-torah-movement/ )

    It is all based on the premise that True-Torahniks are fanatic about the biblical prohibition against adding to the torah (Deuteronomy 13:1). So they have all sorts of chumrahs against having chumrahs.

    For those of you that love your chumras, remember, Rabbi Dour has banned satire, especially on Purim ( http://wp.me/pFbfD-en ) and Rabbi Chinyok of Bnei Brak has banned chareidi kids from dressing like Modern Orthodox Jews on Purim ( http://wp.me/pFbfD-fo ) and loads of unhalachic chumrah mongers have banned the internet.

    For all of you, Happy Purim!

  • Leibel February 28, 2010, 11:45 AM

    Halachically a female “rabbi” isn’t problematic (partly because we don’t have real rabbi’s today anyway), socially it’s a problem with some parts of the frum world though. And it’s usually the same ones who try to ban the internet, insist on “mahadrin” buses, (supposedly) retroactively nullify conversions, etc. Women has paskened before, the only new this time is that the woman has a title.

  • frumwannabe February 28, 2010, 2:30 PM

    Regarding a definition of Conservative Judaism, I was told they don’t accept the Oral Torah as a requirement; but do accept the written one. Then there is a difference in what commandments Jews actually observe. There’s a consistent standard, surprisingly. The range goes from “attending services at a synagogue/temple”, which is one of the most commonly noted; “doesn’t eat pork products”, in the mid-range; to “goes to the mikvah”, one of the least observed categories.

  • FrumGer February 28, 2010, 11:01 PM

    there is no such thing as a women orthodox rabbi. it is exactly an oxymoron. they might think they are orthodox maybe act orthodox, but they are nto because the term itself has its own set of rules.

    besides that how about the bigger picture, a women cannot be a rabbi because she is not obligated to fullfill most positive mitzvot… someone who is exempt from the laws they are teaching, is absurd. also putting unnecessary laws on yourself is not kosher either. better she be a rebitzen… but she is no rabbi that is for sure, she might know mishneh and gemara like it was the back of her hand, but then so could a goy, that does not mean you can give a goy smicha…

    Shout out loud-

    if your parents drove to shul then they desicrated the shabbes 52 times a year as well yontifs, they never kept the shabbes which i don’t know if you have heard it but its a pretty big thing in judaism. we are not taking minhag here rather torah law, everytime your parents started their car and drove it on shabbos they lit a fire and added fuel to it with every step on the gas pedal. also they were carrying on shabbos as well. the conservative dictation for shabbes driving is a shitty halachah, weak at best, the people’s live where not in danger of assimilation, as soon as they moved away from the shul, they already assimilated. they made that halachah to people please. the main reason was to keep money coming in to the conservitive shuls and not going to the reform shuls. its like shul capitalism… and it doesnt stop there, first you can drive to shul then while the people are out leasuring along in their car wll why not go to the base ball game too… and buy ice cream, since you have to have your walet on you anyway to drive. your family might not have done that but they broke shabbes, dont fool yourself, and all of you out there that are currently thinking you are “observant”, but drive on shabbes, work on the basics….. your fooliong yourself.

  • AL February 28, 2010, 11:02 PM

    THANK YOU HESHY!! Finally there’s a sane man out there who understands women’s state in Judaism! Thank you so much for thinking with your head and understanding men’s fear of women in power! (Ever noticed that no biblical man could deal with two women at once – Avraham with Hagar and Sarah, Yaakov with Rachel and Leah, Achashverosh with Vashti and Esther, etc.?) I commend you so much!! Blu Greenberg & Sara Hurwitz are my heroes.

  • s(b.) March 1, 2010, 12:44 AM

    FrumGer, have you ever considered a job in kiruv? (I’m kidding.) 🙂 shoutoutloud, do you have a blog of your own? I would read more of what you have to say, if you did. (unfortunately, making a fire is one of the 39, so driving on shabbat is prohibited by jewish law, but if you’re sfard, I understand you can ride a bicycle. I don’t worry about how others get to shul. If you want to go, go any way you like, just be aware that halachically, starting a car doesn’t fly. flying cars, however, are just fine. [/facetious])

  • Darcy April 8, 2010, 5:27 AM

    Historically, women had a much more public role in Orthodoxy – particularly during the Middle Ages. Women (including Rashi’s daughters) led prayers for women – not private but in public, in earshot of the men, during the men’s prayers, they learned together with boys, they lained and carried the torah, and many other things Orthodox crowds find “unthinkable” or “modern feminism nonsense” today. A professor in Israel just wrote a whole book about this, much more accurate and informative than my little posting. I haven’t been able to get a copy yet, but who knows, he might say women rabbis aren’t new either…

  • JR3 April 23, 2010, 9:08 AM

    Good Day to you all. I am not Jewish, so of course I want to render an opinion in this matter. In fact, I dont believe in a GOD in the traditional Judeo / Christian sense. It is my understanding that being a Rabbi means a true and clear understand of the Torah and Talmud. A good Rabbi / Rabba is able to take the principles of both and apply them to the problems of the men, women and children of the congregation such that congregation lives their lives as “good” and “righteous” people. If by her daily conduct, teaching, and counseling of problems, the lives of the congregation are made better both in the their own eyes and in the sight of God, why would God object to her gender? Outside the USA, Judaism is on trial for its very existance, surrounded, literally, by a culture that calls for its destruction down to the last man woman and child, that sees women as little more than objects for male gratification and as walking wombs. Every capable voice among the people needs to be placed where it can do the most good for the people. Let Sara Hurwitz work in her chosen life…..If God is displeased by this he will let you know.

  • Agree with Ari =) May 28, 2010, 11:44 AM

    i have no problem with modern orthodoxy or anything like that but if the torah says woman should not be rabbis then that should not be messed with. simple as that

  • Drew Kaplan May 28, 2010, 4:16 PM

    Hey Ari & ‘Agree with Ari’,
    Unfortunately, the Torah says nothing about women being or not being rabbis (unless Devorah being a judge counts) – which makes it entirely not simple at all.

  • Sharna May 26, 2011, 2:03 PM

    I really respect the Modern Orthodox Rabbi in my community. But the fact that this is even a discussion or controversy is why I can’t be part of that or any “Modern” Orthodox synagogue. Until women have equality in the “Modern Orthodox” community, it will remain to me a favorite oxymoron.

  • Ben June 6, 2011, 3:27 PM

    My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with a woman Rabbi, but if the OU and RCA disagree, then it’s their call. Rambam (also Ramban, but i thought i’d use the more heretical one) states a halachah that one cannot veer “left or right” i.e., go against the general acceptence/tradition. The commen;ly accepted leaders of this orthodox generation disagree with the ordination of a woman, and whether or not one agrees or disagrees doesn’t matter. A Jew has the obligation to listen to those leaders.

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    Hello just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you knnow a few off thee images aren’t loading
    properly. I’m not sure why butt I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers
    and both show the same results.

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