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Sara Hurwitz speaks out and my thoughts of Jewish feminists

Sara Hurwitz and Jewish feminism bugs me a bit: If she is all about keeping the tradition why go and screw with it? Any shmo can be a rabbi, does it really effect how you can give advice if you are considered a rabbi or adviser? You don’t see Rebetzin Yungreis complaining about not being able to give advice and direction to thousands of people because she isn’t a rabbi and just a lowly rebetzin, a very knowledgeable and super cool rebetzin at that.

As I stated in my previous post about the subject and Sara Hurwitz stated in her speech, there isn’t much halachic precedence to go against ordaining women rabbis, I do dislike the Rashi’s Daughters analogy that is the classic feminist response to upholding out Judaic tradition that has been passed down for thousands of years, if you’re going to change tradition, it should be slowly and not so drastically as Sara Hurwitz and Avi Weiss intend to do – think about it – yoetzet halacha hasn’t been around all that long and suddenly they want to be full fledged rabbis.

While I am on the topic, I was always curious about Jewish feminists, it kind of bothers me that many of them want to keep all of these mitzvos commanded to men, while they aren’t even keeping the mitzvos commanded of them. One would think that if a woman who kept the entire torah would want to go the extra mile and keep more than she were commanded to do – but something smells fishy when a woman who doesn’t keep kosher or taharas mishpacha wants to put on tefillin. Is it about equality or God?

You see I am for orthodox women rabbis from a kiruv perspective because I think it bodes well for orthodoxy in the minds of non-orthodox Jews. I think there are plenty of people now consdiring switching over to orthodoxy, all because of Sara Hurwitz, but at the same time if Sara Huwritz becomes a rabbi there is no telling what’s next. From here it’s a slippery slope, how can you have a full fledged rabbi that can’t be counted in the minyan, called to the torah or asked to be mesader kedushin – it’s only time until actual halacha is broken and that is why this situation is a big threat to orthodoxy as we know it.

{ 83 comments… add one }
  • yaakov-yisrael March 18, 2010, 1:27 AM

    rabbis need to get over themselves and their 500 year old tzvat re-instituted smicha. and can we get back to humor? like is it appropriate to call a super-plus-sized female “rabba?” it seems a little insensitive to our larger sisters.

    • Heshy Fried March 18, 2010, 1:32 AM

      We switch from humor to seriousness – you don’t have to read everything and I also thought she was rather skinny to be called Rabba. I also found it disenchanting that she isn’t even a rabbi yet and already she’s asking for a pay increase – women rabbis should make less because they can’t do as much as male rabbis

    • SF2K1 March 18, 2010, 3:30 PM

      The only person who received that smicha from that Sanhedrin they made 500 years ago was R’ Yosef Caro who went on to author the Shulchan Aruch. I think that speaks for itself.

  • Ra'ananInAlbany March 18, 2010, 2:48 AM

    Hesh; your response to Ya’akov Yisrael is intriguing. He says, “lets get back to humor”, and you immediately say, “she doesn’t deserve a pay increase because she can’t do as much”. At first glance i’d say that’s classic, and sort of true. To me, a “Rabba” would either have to be independent of a pulpit(member of congregation, or member of communal rabbinical board), or the sole pulpit-sitter(with the understanding that she can’t do five main rabbinical duties)(lead davening, count for davening, perform kiddushin/gittin, lain torah, and be posek on certain issues). The latter application would be for a seasonal minyan, or super-small kehilla that can’t afford an actual Rabbi, or a Rabbi would not want to volunteer to go there. Working as an Assistant Rabbi or similar vain would create a lot of communal tension just from the yichud issue, or the tzniut issue. A Rabbi and Rabba working together, whether married or unmarried to other people, can have serious consequences. The only solution i can see is if Rabbi and Rabba are married to each other, and are a team. MAybe we should work out positions for a Rabba first, before ordaining waves of women, and expecting them to dig their own holes and find their own places to work. i’m not against the idea; i believe we should just do it slowly. Breaking tradition all at once can have dire consequences. Look to the Reform movement. In 1885(or whenever it was), they had this communal dinner, and that was their way of saying Kashrut is no longer applicable. They served shrimp and seafood to several hundred people, a very public way of breaking tradition all at once. Before that, it had just been debated, and this was the “introduction”, so to speak, that set the tone for future generations.

    • Heshy Fried March 18, 2010, 2:58 AM

      Well I got back to humor and I brought up a good point

  • Sabros March 18, 2010, 5:25 AM

    Thanks for continuing the conversation about this issue, Hesh.

    You bring up a valid point about women who don’t want to keep traditional women’s mitzvot yet take on additional ones such as tzitzit/tefillin. I agree that is problematic: personally I don’t think I get to set aside my obligations as a woman just because I take part in egalitarian practices. It’s not either-or: it’s extra.

    I do think there is a stigma to some of the traditional practices, and there’s a challenge to present and teach these to contemporary women who never practiced them or have negative associations with them (mostly talking about mikvah/taharat mishpacha here). I also get a sense that some women are horrified at the thought of being relegated to “kugel and baby making” and having no other options for a role in the community: it should be about choices as what is right for some women is not right for all.

    All that being said, this argument goes out the window if people bring up issues of tzniut, kol isha, yichud, kavod hatzibbur, etc: no matter what a woman’s motivations for taking on additional, non-traditional roles might be, they are kind of irrelevant if people are going to deny her on other grounds.

  • BigPhil March 18, 2010, 6:22 AM

    I was really surprised to read this from you. Sure we know about all the kooky women that put on tefillin and don’t do much else, but don’t you think that Sara Hurwitz is something else altogether? How can you lump them together?

    She’s clearly frum in the most mainstream of ways. She’s not the one donning a tallit and tefillin at the kotel on Rosh Chodesh. She’s appears to be nothing but tzanuah. All she’s “guilty” of is being the first. Of doing something that we orthodox, with our closeted little lives, can’t quite get to grips with.

    Ironically, I think the one thing that everyone agrees on (even if they won’t admit it) is that there’s no halachic basis to disapprove of this. The only basis to disapprove is our own prejudice, misconception and self-protectionism.

    When I read all the nay-saying tripe from the RCA etc, all I can think of in response is “get over it”. It’s here, it’s happening. Embrace it.

    I’m just surprised that you confuse a serious, religious and mainstream orthodox scholar (that happens to be female), with a kooky feminist that is in this political reasons, rather religious enlightement.

    Do better Hesh!

    • Stewie March 18, 2010, 9:52 AM

      Agreed.

      Everyone has their own path to G-d, has a role to bring balance to humanity and if her’s is as a Rabbi, so be it. If G-d is neither masculine or feminine, what’s the big stink about having females (who are more divine than men, right?) in such positions?

      Merit should be in one’s virtues and education, not one’s gender. Leave it to humans to make things more complex than they need be.

    • Phil March 18, 2010, 1:22 PM

      BigPhil,

      I don’t think she appears tzanua, at least not by a Rebbetzin’s standard. The low collar, hair showing (is she married?) and men’s looking jacket that is borderline crossdressing.

      When I think of rebbetzins, I think of the wives of chassidic Rebbe’s, most notably Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka obm, late wife of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. She was the epitome of tzniyut and grace, and as the daughter of the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, without a doubt had more knowledge in her pinky toe than Sara Hurwitz.

      I think shebbi of fabbi is more appropriate for Sara.

      • BigPhil March 18, 2010, 1:42 PM

        But the point is that she’s not a “Rebbetzin”, her husband is! 🙂

        As for tzanuah or not, I’m sure we could both bring source after source supporting whether her hair covering is acceptable or not (I understand that she is indeed married). And her top is up to her collar bone, are you suggesting she wear a burka? (Not even Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka obm, in all her epitomisation of tzinyut and grace, did that.)

        And on the subject of the the graceful Rebbetzin, when you say that she “without a doubt had more knowledge in her pinky toe”, have you ever actually engaged with either or both of them on any intellectual or social level? Whether it’s true or not, it seems a presumptious statement at best, and at worst, simply fabricated to support your dislike of the concept, and perhaps the person, involved here.

        I just want people to admit, as Heshy did to be fair, that this is simply not about halacha, or even a quantification of knowledge (whether relative to the graceful Rebbetzin’s pinky toe or not) , it’s simply about our own prejudices. We’re not used to it, we don’t think it’s “frum”, we’re chauvinist/sexist people.

        But you know what, all that’s our problem, not Maharat/Rabba Sara’s.

        • Heshy Fried March 18, 2010, 2:25 PM

          I think that if she actually covered all of her hair she would have gained a lot more recognition, her lack of hair covering instantly discredits her as another feminist just trying to make waves.

          I would be interested to see if she could actually learn, I would love to see a debate like the days of yore between her and Scnheur Kotler or something like that.

          If the first orthodox woman rabbi was someone who could really shteig that would make waves – would never happen but it would be very cool and telling.

          • Phil March 18, 2010, 2:32 PM

            Hesh,

            I don’t doubt that some women can shteig, just as reformed rabbis can shteig and hairy women can grow mustaches.

            No self respecting shul or shteible would hire her as it’s “rabbi”, that’s why she’s now got her brand of hodge podge crap labeled as feminist modern orthodx or something like that.

            Even woman of the caliber of the matriarchs and prophetesses didn’t get smicha, though they were on a higher spiritual level than anyone we ever knew.

            As much as the m.o. , conservative and egalitarian crown doesn’t like it, what she’s doing is too close to reform judaism.

            • Heshy Fried March 18, 2010, 3:01 PM

              I definitely disagree – my chabad rabbis wife knows gemara pretty well and she can shteig, but the thing is – if a woman can really shteig she probably knows her role and is too tzanua to think of becoming a rabbi – then again it depends what you mean by rabbi – this woman wants to be a pulpit rabbi which in my opinion is impossible (on that note have you ever been to a shul where there are laining mistake catchers yelling out corrections from behind the mechitza) – if she wanted to be called rabbi in her gemara shiur that shouldn’t be an issue.

              • Stewie March 18, 2010, 4:40 PM

                I’m sure you’d all be happier if she was hanging out showing off her “hooker” boots and hot Channy hair so you can diss her for looking immodest but spending your lonely night obsessed with porn.

          • BigPhil March 18, 2010, 3:17 PM

            I have strong sympathy on your hair covering point BTW – there was a debate on this over on dovbear at the time of her conferral (http://dovbear.blogspot.com/2009/04/me-and-maharat.html).

            But I think my view has changed over the last year. I used to think she should be as “machmir” as possible in order to shoot down any right wing missles. But I came to realise that that’s also a BS position.

            Whatever she does, she’ll never be accepted by all of the people. It would really make no difference if she covered all her hair, or let a little show (in accordance with sound halachic opinion btw).

            MO people spend too much time trying to justify their actions to their RW couterparts, when in fact, they should just ignore them and do what they believe in.

            • Phil March 19, 2010, 8:37 AM

              BigPhil,

              I only pointed out her hair and collar thing because you said she was totally tzanua.

              By most frum standards (except m.o.), she would be considered “borderline”. Thechnically she’s naked according to most halachic standards if she’s married and showing more than 2-3 inches of hair.

              No one is knocking her for learning. She just crossed a line by calling herself an orthodox rabbi and claiming she has a valid smicha.

              No REAL rav or dayan would give smicha to a woman. Whoever did this was likely looking for a cheap publicity stunt, and by the looks of things, it worked.

              If Sarah is feeling particularly feminist, she should have burned her bras. If she has too much testosterone, let her smoke a couple Havanas and let her mustache grow. All she’s doing is causing more arguments and controversy between Jews.

    • kissmei'mshomer March 22, 2010, 3:58 PM

      Agree!

      • kissmei'mshomer March 22, 2010, 3:59 PM

        (with initial post by BigPhil)

  • Shira March 18, 2010, 7:11 AM

    Interesting site. I’ve been lurking for a while (found you from one of those ‘mommy blogs’ you satirically mentioned in your last post).
    Anyway, I must agree with the previous post -‘ The only basis to disapprove is our own prejudice, misconception and self-protectionism’.

    I’m dati in my own way (prefer that term to orthodox), but also consider myself a feminist. So I’m torn – on the one hand it just seems ‘wrong’ to have a woman rabbi. Culturally, socially, religiously, emotionally, I expect the man who heads my congregation to be male. But on the other hand I strongly believe women should be given choices and freedom and should not be shut out ‘just because’.

    Maybe the solution is as you state…..change should come slowly but surely. Maybe my daughters won’t think a woman rabbi is weird (OK, they probably will, being raised in Israel and all). Maybe in a generation or two we will have found loopholes for all the halachic issues. After all, we Jews are experts at that.

    • Meir March 18, 2010, 12:29 PM

      Only the absolute most crazy progressive Jews would expect other than this.

      I expect the man who heads my congregation to be male.

      I mean, they may not expect the person who heads their congregation to be male, but the man, yes.

      • Shira March 18, 2010, 12:37 PM

        yes…..I noticed that after I clicked ‘submit’, and wondered if anyone would catch it.
        Still, today, with all the gender bending, you never know.

  • girl March 18, 2010, 8:51 AM

    “I was always curious about Jewish feminists, it kind of bothers me that many of them want to keep all of these mitzvos commanded to men, while they arent even keeping the mitzvos commanded of them.”

    well keeping some mitzwoth that are not obligatory while neglecting others that are obligatory: this could also be said of large portion of the male hareidi population.

    They neglect the Mitzwah of providing for their families while dedicating themselves to torah

    What exactely is the difference?

    (And I won’t go into “lovesh sh’horim”, and other types of hypocrisies)

    • FarFrumIt March 18, 2010, 9:34 AM

      R u serious? This has got to be one of the lamest analogies I have heard in a while.
      Firstly, your whole premise is wrong – Talmud Torah is one of the greatest commandments there is. Secondly, of all the arguments against people learning in Kollel, yours has got to be on the bottom of the list – there is not one (ok maybe one) wife who is not happy with her husband learning – it might be hard, but that is what she signed up for.
      “This could also be said of large portion of the male hareidi population.” Again your mode of logic fails me. No one is perfect – obviously everyone does things that are wrong – the point is, if I’m not keeping shabbos, sleeping around, and generally not following halacha, I shouldn’t be the one to re-institute the age old practice of wearing Tefillin all day.

      • Heshy Fried March 18, 2010, 2:27 PM

        Thank you for answering for me

      • Meir March 18, 2010, 7:32 PM

        Her whole premise is not wrong.

        Yes, Peah 1:1 says
        Torah study is equivalent to all other mitzvot

        but the Mishna elsewhere makes it clear that Torah study without earning a living is not following halacha.

        Avot 2:2 “Torah study not combined with work will fail in the end and lead to sin.”

        The Rambam is much harsher, (Hilchot Talmud Torah, 3:10), saying that anyone who decides to study Torah and live on charity instead of working creates a chillul Hashem, disgraces the Torah, obscures the light of religion, causes harm to himself and deprives himself of a share in Olam Haba.

        • FarFrumIt March 18, 2010, 7:52 PM

          It would suit you to delve into all the facts instead of spewing forth one or two sources regarding this topic.
          I’m not even going to bring the endless Halachic authorities who clearly state otherwise – I’ll just elaborate on the two sources you used for proof:
          “Torah study not combined with work will fail in the end and lead to sin.”
          The mishna indeed says this, but if you would look on the side, Bartenura clearly explains that this is only so because one would need to steal to get food. This does not apply where a husband is learning and his wife is working – or they’re mooching of their parents.
          “The Rambam is much harsher, (Hilchot Talmud Torah, 3:10), saying that anyone who decides to study Torah and live on charity instead of working creates a chillul Hashem”
          The answer is in the quote itself – “and live on charity instead.” Again, the majority of men who have decided to devote themselves to learning do not live on charity.
          And just to clarify so no one gets the wrong idea about me:
          1) In the days of yore, before deciding to go to college, I actually spent a great deal of time on this topic (I laugh about it now). I do not know much “learning” these days.
          2) Even when I followed typical frummy Judaism, I was against all men learning and their wives working. Only a select few are cut out for such an arrangement. I believed that such a community will eventually implode. However, to use the “men learning and not working” catchphrase as an analogy to what Heshy wrote is entirely inappropriate (besides for the irony that most non-orthodox Jews wish that women should be on equal footing as men and work full-time jobs – yet they vilify Kollel people for doing just that).

          • Meir March 19, 2010, 7:34 AM

            My response was to “girl”‘s post on the thread, not to Heshy.

            As for that, who do you think pays for much of the kollel stipends? You really think parents/in-laws and wives cover that too? (Yes, certainly, it is not charity if a family member pays for it, and should the family be able to cover it, then kollel study is indeed a huge mitzvah)

            The answer lies in, for instance, that ad we say using “Reb Martin Grossman” (the guy who murdered the park ranger in Florida) to raise money for Kollel Shomre Hachamos; i.e. charity pays for it.

            In Israel at least, the kollel system survives (in a weaker and weaker state that, as Chazal said, will eventually fail) on straight-up undeniable charity and on Israel’s quite generous welfare benefits, which can be considered communal charity.

  • Chana March 18, 2010, 9:32 AM

    “but something smells fishy when a woman who doesnt keep kosher or taharas mishpacha wants to put on tefillin. Is it about equality or God?”

    I think it’s because Reform and Conservative Jews mainly observe mitzvot that happen in the synagogue, which almost always apply to males only. Also, yes, for many of them it is about equality more than it’s about God–which makes sense considering lots of Jews don’t believe in God yet still have Jewish social lives.

    • YY March 18, 2010, 5:02 PM

      A lot of Jews believe way more strongly in left-wing politics than they do in Judaism. They can’t conceive of the idea that their left-wing worldview may not be 100% correct and applicable to everything! Now I’m pretty liberal on most issues too. But the far left believes that everything in the world — everything — should be changed to fit their worldview, while plain old liberals (as well as moderates and conservatives) accept that the world is more complicated and some traditions are worth preserving the way they are. Personally, I’m all for increasing women’s involvement with Judaism in whatever halachic ways we can think of. I’m just against the idea that everything has to be 100% equal, with no distinctions whatsoever between anyone. Politics and religion are apples and oranges; they don’t have to correspond perfectly.

  • Chana March 18, 2010, 9:37 AM

    Also, this is the way slow change happens. There had to be a first. She set a precedent, and slowly, as other communities are ready, they will start ordaining rabbas too. It wouldn’t have happened if there weren’t some people supporting it, and it won’t happen again until there are more.

    • Esther March 18, 2010, 11:14 AM

      Agreed fully. There are always those who will resist change, heck I don’t like change myself. I love my routines and fight as hard as I can to make sure nothing messes with it. But logically, you cannot stop progress and evolution. It will happen. Slowly but surely it will overcome resistance and happen. May as well get on board.

      Hesh, you may doubts and concerns but the fact that you’re covering this and blogging about it speaks volumes.

      • Heshy Fried March 19, 2010, 1:10 AM

        I am very torn about it – on the one hand I think it’s the greatest thing to happen to orthodoxy since frum porn and on the hand it may be the downfall of modern orthodoxy and I don’t want that to happen.

        I am on board, but I need to have all sides of the issue here – I had a very pro-Sara Huriwtz post and now I need to share my other views.

        • Esther March 19, 2010, 9:13 AM

          Thank you for replying. “Torn” is about right on this and any other issue that has traditions going head to head with evolution.

  • FarFrumIt March 18, 2010, 9:41 AM

    I used to think if its not against the letter of the law, I can do it – after all, I don’t need any more chumrahs, I’m a “maikel” kind of guy. But I know realize that many of the laws Chazal had instituted were “gedarim” – guidelines set in place, of which violating would not be breaking actual halacha, but rather would lead down a slippery slope.
    I do not regret where I am in life – heck, I believe I made all the right decisions, but I am proof of this concept. From an orthodox Jew’s point of view, even if something is not against actual Halacha, guidelines must be set up because, as Heshy put it, “from here its a slippery slope.”
    My only current gripe, is who gets to set up these guidelines – oh right, the ever elusive “Da’as Torah.”

    • BigPhil March 18, 2010, 1:55 PM

      Absolutely agreed. But the point here is not about “gedarim”. “Muktza” is about gedarim. Treating chicken as something fleishig rather than parve is about gedarim.

      This is not about putting a geder around a particular halacha (there isn’t one!).

      I consider myself to be an observant Jew. I daven three times a day. I learn each day. We’ve even had *really* frum people eat in our house. I highly value the gedarim ChaZaL put around halacha (as opposed to modern day chumra), and I do everything possible not to step over those boundaries in my daily life.

      However, in this case, where (and we all know it) those “gedarim” are not about protecting “halacha”, but about continuing prejudice and ignorance. Those gedarim (in this case) don’t mean jack.

      • FarFrumIt March 18, 2010, 8:04 PM

        To use one example (going in the framework of “Chazal’s” logic):
        Chazal stated that a man has to have as little interaction with a women as possible. Even a man and his wife. WTF? Does that mean I can’t even initiate a little greeting to the girl sitting next to me? That’s what it sounds like. Because then I might come to f*** her. The concept is one thing leads to another. Many people have denied such a train of action exists, but I have witnessed it firsthand (not getting into details). From Orthodox Rabbi’s points of view (remember, I’m not agreeing with them – just from their point of view), boundaries must be set up to ensure no one begins going down a “slippery slope.”
        Such boundaries are not limited to “muktzah” but to anything that might begin a chain reaction of events culminating in something definitely prohibited. As such, it is entirely feasible that Rabbi’s are against Sara Hurwitz’s ordination because of the logic Heshy has laid out. Again, I’m not saying I agree – but I can definitely see the subjective logic in it.

        • FarFrumIt March 18, 2010, 8:06 PM

          (please don’t correct me on my apostrophe placements – i don’t really proofread) 🙂

  • feivelbenmishael March 18, 2010, 12:34 PM

    OMG HESHY THIS ARTICLE IS OFFENSIVELY FRUM I AM DISGUSTED!

    😛

  • smooth shemp March 18, 2010, 1:04 PM

    perhaps women can do a much better job than men have done. i would venture to say so as men have pretty much screwed up the world.
    it’s time to see this happen with women in modern orthodox rabbinical roles. there is enough of a broad range within modern orthodoxy to allow woman rabbis. and the time has come for men to realize that if a woman wants to daven with tallis, become a rabbi or be a professional athlete or any endeavor that men have it’s there right and obligation to do so for themselves, humanity and g-d. the right wing fundamentalist conservative thinking orthodox need not worry. these women aren’t into them anyway. let those nay sayers them stay home, stick there heads in the sand, bible thump, have large unsustainable families while schnorring and spreading hatred and grandstand with sarah palin and the . the saudi oil lobby and the tea partyitsts. good luck sara hurwitz in all your endeavorers and remember that men are still ok albeit backwards and knuckle dragging hairy apes. (btw i’m a manly man)

    • Esther March 18, 2010, 2:24 PM

      I was about to write “Preach on, Sister!” when I saw the “manly man” part at the end… Makes me love this comment even more. So glad you spoke up. So glad. And the fight is not even about who will do a better job – more like, the opportunity to be able to do the same job. Really not much to ask, and yet…

  • Bigred March 18, 2010, 3:05 PM

    Not 100% on topic but thought I’d share:

    I have always had this nagging feeling that underlying many of the issues that modern feminists have with Orthodox practice is a spirit of what I call “religious transvestism” – in that I perceive their underlying motivation as being “I want to do what a man does because I’m just as good/qualified as a man and anything a man can do, I can do too” rather than “I want to do these religious rituals because I feel that by not doing them I am missing out in my ability to get close to G-d.”

    I sometimes wonder if the Messiah arrived today and declared: “Holy Brothers and Sisters, there has been a big mistake. Something may have gotten lost over the years, but in reality, all the rituals (and child-rearing responsibilities) that you believe have been given to men were actually given to women – and vice versa.”

    Perhaps I’m being overly cynical but I suspect that within a few weeks/months/years, JOFA and its ilk would bemoan that men/religious authorities had deliberately tried to subjugate women by making women attend synagogue three times a day, sit through lengthy Shabbat and Yom Tov services, and put on Tefillin each weekday morning, while the only substantive religious burden placed on men was requiring them to visit a spa (ie Mikvah) once a month (assuming they were married). Women would rise up in protest, rebel against these oppressive “rituals” and demand that they, too, be able to have a monthly spa night.

    • Heshy Fried March 18, 2010, 3:12 PM

      Yes but if you were chabad you would have spa daily – if that’s what you call getting into a lukewarm pool with pubic hairs floating around while splashing your naked hairy friends.

      • Esther March 18, 2010, 4:03 PM

        Just out of curiosity, how many frum women view Mikvah as a spa day? I am not frum myself and my knowledge of this particular subject is admittedly limited , but isn’t mandatory and husbands won’t go near their wives until they’ve been to the Mikvah? I would venture a guess that since it is obligatory, the association with luxury/pampering that a word like “spa”has, goes right out the window. And the likely accurate description of “lukewarm pool with pubic hairs floating around” doesn’t sound like much of a treat either.

        • Heshy Fried March 19, 2010, 4:39 AM

          Not unless you have seen some of the super fancy mikvahs that cater to women that are biased against taharas hamishpacha

      • Ra'ananInAlbany March 19, 2010, 3:05 AM

        Dude, be careful about saying things like that… we just had a guy in Albany sentenced for a similar issue…

  • parent in ny March 18, 2010, 3:12 PM

    agreed with above post

  • Dale Rosenbach March 18, 2010, 4:16 PM

    R’ Mordechai Becher quotes some article in Yediot Achronot from years ago that some secular Jew was talking to the Reform Jews of America saying: “We secular Jews are secular because we don’t believe in the divine origin of the Torah. But you can be a rabbi and you don’t believe in the divine origin of the Torah? What are you a rabbi of?”

  • LilithVashti March 18, 2010, 7:18 PM

    Heshy,
    The part of your post that most met my need for authenticity was when you said you were “bugged” by Jewish feminists. Every other statement and question you made seemed like it just repeated this personal, not halachic, not intellectual, response.

    It sounds like you are valuing tradition, and fearful of change. In asking why screw with tradition, it seemed like merely repeating that you are uncomfortable, that you are bugged. You admit there is no real halacha against women becoming rabbis. Because you are uncomfortable is not enough reason to deny a learned woman the opportunity to earn an easily recognizable title, that, according to you “any shmo” (with a penis) can get. Incidentally, your argument that women should be happy without the title (because it doesn’t ultimately mean anything) works just as well for men.

    When you stated that orthodox feminists are asking for change too quickly it reminded me of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s response to everyone who said he was asking for change too quickly. In his famous letter from Birmingham Jail, he called the greatest stumbling block in the black “stride toward freedom” not the Ku Klux Klanner, but rather the “white moderate…who paternalistically believes he can he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom”. Perhaps you should check some of your privilege (here http://www.amptoons.com/blog/the-male-privilege-checklist/, and while you are at it, here http://mixedjewgirl.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/unpacking-the-jewish-knapsack/, and here http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html), and let the people most affected by these changes to determine the time table to work for them. Many observant Jews have left the Orthodox community, and the observant women who have patiently stayed have waited much longer than long enough to ask for simple fairness in acknowledging their accomplishments.

    You state that you are “curious” about Jewish feminists, and then state skepticism about their motives. I imagine that in putting yourself out their you have developed a fairly thick skin, but I also imagine that it is not your favorite thing, in your most honest moments, to have the motivations for your own mitzvot -keeping, (and human failing), questioned by other Jews. Your own inconsistencies that you have put out there, (eating treif food before going to study at yeshiva, going to Shul where you “ball scratch” and obsess about trying to see past the mechitza, and then milk shul for whatever comedy it is worth) the question could just as easily be put to you. Is it about male privilege and status, or is it about G-d? However, I am not asking that, nor am I really asking if it would be uncomfortable if I did ask that. I am trying to point out that both compassion and Judaism advise against questioning the motivations of your fellow Jews’ observance.

    At the end you state that you want the credit to your religious tradition for having ordained women as it would be good for kiruv. As much gold as there is in it for your comedy, it seems like you would actually prefer your sect not be seen as oppressive and sexist to both other Jews and gentiles. The cost to this would be actually being less oppressive and sexist, and a simple title seems like a small enough nod for this credibility.

    • Heshy Fried March 19, 2010, 1:15 AM

      You are partially right with your response, however one of the major reasons that people read this site is that they too can relate to the fact that even though I sin, I acknowledge these sins and try corrective action to change for I believe in the torah, mitzvos and God.

      My problem is that Jewish feminism is about sexism and not about God – you hit the nail on the head. It’s about equality and making everything user friendly and not about what people believe in.

      • LilithVashti March 19, 2010, 7:23 PM

        I am not sure we are in agreement about why people read here. I think a major reason people read this site where you talk about your ‘sins’ is because you make them funny (sometimes more successfully than others), NOT because you talk about corrective action and spiritual growth. I am not saying you don’t do these things, but I don’t really see that discussed here.

        As far as relating, I would guess some folks (not myself) could relate to, for example, obsessively trying to peek at women praying behind a mechitza. However, I suspect a more common reaction is laughing at your exaggerated portrayal because it is so far outside of social norms. Others might enjoy it because it allows them to feel superior that as adults, they can congregate with other adult men and women for a religious purpose and view the other people there as fully human spiritual members of their community, not merely as sexual objects of distraction. Or at least are able to ignore people, especially those already hidden behind a barrier.

        With regards to your second paragraph, it sounds like you are really valuing religious expressions that are authentically about a relationship with the divine and about belief. It sounds like when you think about Jewish feminists, you feel suspicious that some people’s motivations are about the status of a group of people, and that this doesn’t meet your need for trust. Is this true?

        For me, this is true for Orthodox Judaism. I don’t feel trust that the parts people defend most passionately are really about a G-d or belief, but rather about maintaining the status of a particular group of people, namely men. When I hear men criticizing Sara Hurwitz’s hat instead of her learning, or suggesting that she should be a rebbetzin (who gets that title from her husband), or publicly doubting the motivations behind particular mitzvot observance by individual women, or suggesting that if there were orthodox women rabbis, that they should be paid less, or physically assaulting women for what they are wearing or where they are sitting, this does not meet my need for trust that these criticism are really about theology. They appear to be the very human, and not always conscious, impulse to not give up privilege without a fight.

      • RK March 21, 2010, 3:21 AM

        My problem is that Jewish feminism is about sexism and not about God you hit the nail on the head. Its about equality and making everything user friendly and not about what people believe in.

        You can turn this around: You’re the one who supports this because you think it’ll improve kiruv. She — if you believe her stated views — supports this because she believes the halakha permits it.

        Like you, I’m conflicted about these recent developments. But it’s absurd to call this a “very pro-Sara Hurwitz post.” It’s more equivocation than outright support, and what support there is is backhanded.

  • yaakov-yisrael March 18, 2010, 9:35 PM

    In the story of the daughters of Zelofechad, if Moshe Rabbeinu hadn’t said “Hashem told me directly” Agguda would have put him in cherem.

  • yeshiva dude March 18, 2010, 10:51 PM

    All I need is one word to describe this person: FREAK!!!

  • Batya from Shiloh March 18, 2010, 11:59 PM

    Hesh, yes, I agree with you. I hope that doesn’t make you feel that you’re becoming an old lady.
    In Israel there are quite a few women (Hebrew-speaking) with wide followings, likeThe Rabbanit (Rebbetzin, Rabbi’s Wife) Yemima. I heard her speak, and she does great stand-up.

  • Shira Salamone March 19, 2010, 12:20 AM

    Heshy and commenter Chana, thanks for making me think about this from a different angle. See here.

    • Heshy Fried March 19, 2010, 4:43 AM

      Shira I totally was not expecting this out of you – I personally hate wearing a talis, what a pain, I can’t even imagine putting tefilin while wearing a talis.

  • Shira Salamone March 19, 2010, 3:28 PM

    If you’re talking about my general observance level, yes, it’s taken me quite a while to get to my current level, and I’m still “not there yet.” If you’re talking about me wearing a tallit and tefillin, you might want to read my Nothing to help us pray: Women and the Shmadavvenning in the abstract.

    For the record, I think the man who came up with the brilliant idea that one should put on tefillin *after* putting on a tallit should be sent to bed without dessert. I can’t tell you how many times my tallit has slid at least partway away or my tzitzit have gotten wound around my tefillin straps. Oh, well. 🙂

    • Phil March 19, 2010, 3:31 PM

      Shira,

      I suppose you never volunteered for a bris yet. When you do, I’m sure you’ll find a line up for the metzitza.

  • Shira Salamone March 19, 2010, 3:29 PM

    Er, that was supposed to say “at least partway off my shoulder(s).

    Shabbat Shalom.

  • Sergey Kadinsky March 19, 2010, 4:18 PM

    Does Sara Hurwitz have a husband? That’s a rhetorical question. Of course she does.

    The true question is why isn’t he speaking out? Why isn’t he standing alongside his wife? Oprah Winfrey’s longtime boyfriend has more visibility than Hurwitz’s husband. Traditional rebbetzins have a more public role than Hurwitz’s husband.

    Among female Reform rabbis, you also rarely see or hear from their husbands. Man up, guys!

  • Leibel March 19, 2010, 5:40 PM

    I’m split on the issue. Technically there are no real rabbi’s today and there are ways of making a woman a rabbi (or rabba or maharat or whatever you want to call it) and it’s not like the yeshivish/chareidim worlds are being asked to ordain women as rabba’s, if anything it would be allowing more liberal communities to *voluntarily* accept a woman as a Rabbah (which is allowed halachically). On the other hand it does smack of what reform does, which is a major problem, although R’Hurwitz comes off as a being a normal frum person.

  • Shira Salamone March 19, 2010, 5:58 PM

    Phil, I don’t take kindly to being addressed in such a vulgar manner. When you have something civil and decent to say, I’ll listen.

  • sabros March 21, 2010, 3:30 PM

    So glad that this conversation has deteriorated to Internet trolling.

  • FrumGer March 21, 2010, 10:00 PM

    It is funny how egal women will leign tefillin but dont go to the mikveh ….

    Now that I have heard what this girl has to say- it is totally obvious she has a totally bloated sense of self and what she is doing. she is way to important in her own mind… thats how you know this is not for the sake of heaven. I mean she really thinks she is MLK jr here. I got a newsflash for all that are backing her. SHE IS A NOVELTY and a complete fad nothing more. I mean you might just call her P.O.G, Tickle me Elmo or Giga pet….. She will do her little tour around every left wing shul, write a book, and then fade to black or wind up on a reality show. this women is not Orthodox just because she wears a skirt. she is not orthodox because some OTD rabbi gave her a bullshit smicha. that smicha is like living on monopoly money, see how far it will get her. It will get her into the shul she is in now, that is about it. either that or som conservitive or reform shul may pick her up. either way any legit orthodox shul wont touch her or her 4 other so called female Talmud Torah with a 10 ft pole. they are trying to fulfill a demand that does not exist.

    She thinks she is busting the glass ceiling here but she is not, nothing has changed, she is not orthodox. the last time i checked non orthodox have been ordaining women a long time.

    and what good is a woman rabbi anyway? she cant hold a pulpit, because she is a woman and cant read from the Torah, have an aliyah, and does not count in a minyan. She cant do pastoral work, except with women. IE she cant perform conversions (because she is not a viable witness) , officiate or perform a bris, she cant council a man, ETC. What can she actually do? Sit and learn? Teach Torah? well from what I know women have been learning and teaching Torah for a long time now.

    it just seems to me the only thing that really matters to her or her propoganda monster is her having an R infront of her acronym. which is total vanity and not for the sake of heaven at all. Scholorly Pride is from the sitra achra…

  • s(b.) March 22, 2010, 5:04 AM

    actually, frumger, if you’d read any articles that quote her on the topic, she’s not concerned about the title, she’s concerned re: being able to serve the community.

    Quick poll of women who read this who adhere to taharat hamishpacha: If you had a question re: intimate apparel, post-menstruation, would you prefer to show a garment regarding which you might have a question to a male rav or to a female (regardless of title) who has extensive Judaic education and serves the women of your community? My guess is many women who practice TH may be too modest to reply to questions about it in public. If the shoe were on the other foot and you had a question re: intimacy, FrumGer, would you want to speak with a male rav or a female? I’m going to guess you’d want to speak with an educated male.

    Having someone of the same gender available to serve the community can be helpful for issues such as this and others re: which speaking with someone of the same gender may afford one the ability to discuss a topic more openly because one feels the other can relate to the topic at hand. Such topics may include parenting, elder care, family politics, husband/wife issues, domestic violence, personal health care referrals, etc.

    This has nothing to do with pride. This has to do with most effectively being able to serve the members of a community. Some types of service can halachically only be performed by men. Others can be performed by women. Bikur cholim and shiva calls are just two examples of those.

  • Phil March 22, 2010, 9:38 AM

    SB,

    Many women have already been given authority to rule on taharat hamishpacha issues for the reasons you just stated. None call themselves rabbis or anything like that, they are simply women that the beth din tested and found knowledgeable enough to answer halachic questions.

    What Sara Hurwitz is doing is more about feminism and publicity than about actually wanting to make a difference and help people. The fact that she’s out making speeches about her so called acheivements, and her aspirations to serve as a pulpit rabbi, prove my point.

    She could have easily got the authority to counsel people or answer questions related to women without going through with her smicha publicity stunt.

  • kissmei'mshomer March 22, 2010, 4:30 PM

    Hi Heshy,
    Interesting post. I like how you are trying to look at this issue from different sides. Thought I would share some of my thoughts:

    “Any shmo can be a rabbi, does it really effect how you can give advice if you are considered a rabbi or adviser?”
    Yes, it does. The title gives you a certain sense of legitimacy and authority. Otherwise, why would any men try to become rabbis? Why wouldn’t they be satisfied by titles such as “spiritual leaders” or “advisors”?
    Besides, doesn’t the fact that Orthodoxy is so resistant to conferring the term “rabbi” to women suggest that there is a great deal that in implied in the term? If it really made no difference, why would they care or argue that it’s against mesorah?
    The term “advisor” implies a role that women have always taken on – women have always advised, guided, supported, encouraged, strengthened, nurtured. However, “rabbi” also implies leadership and power. It implies the ability to create and enforce rules and decide what is and is not allowed by halacha. And it seems as though Orthodoxy is not yet ready to give women that kind of power over halachic rulings.

    “You dont see Rebetzin Yungreis complaining about not being able to give advice and direction to thousands of people because she isnt a rabbi and just a lowly rebetzin, a very knowledgeable and super cool rebetzin at that.”
    Rebetzin Jungreis has found a role that works for her in which she can spread inspiration and Torah to many people. That’s great, and I agree that she’s awesome. However, just because she has no desire to become rabbi does not mean that all women with such desires should automatically be derided or suspected of having “ulterior motives.”

    “While I am on the topic, I was always curious about Jewish feminists, it kind of bothers me that many of them want to keep all of these mitzvos commanded to men, while they arent even keeping the mitzvos commanded of them. One would think that if a woman who kept the entire torah would want to go the extra mile and keep more than she were commanded to do but something smells fishy when a woman who doesnt keep kosher or taharas mishpacha wants to put on tefillin. Is it about equality or God?”

    Arguably both men and women should aim to fulfil the whole Torah, not just the laws that make them feel good and fulfilled. But that does not only apply to women. There also plenty of men who may pick and choose which mitzvot they focus on based on how empowered or spiritual these mitzvot make them feel, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are women who also do that.
    Besides, I wouldn’t characterize most Orthodox feminists as taking on “extra” obligations before fulfilling the ones they were “commanded” in.

    “…but at the same time if Sara Huwritz becomes a rabbi there is no telling whats next. From here its a slippery slope, how can you have a full fledged rabbi that cant be counted in the minyan, called to the torah or asked to be mesader kedushin its only time until actual halacha is broken and that is why this situation is a big threat to orthodoxy as we know it.”

    The “slippery slope” argument is frequently made, but I’m not sure that it’s always valid. When Chasidus began, Misnagdim feared that they tampering with mesorah and that they would lead to all sorts of terrible things, yet arguably Hassidim are often among the most Orthodox these days. Starting the Bais Ya’akov movement was also seen as a terrible risk, and many rabbis wrote virulently against it. Yet today nobody (okay, very few people) think twice about women attending Jewish schools and studying (at the least) Tanach. People were also afraid that women studying Gemara would prove a terrible thing, and while I wouldn’t say it’s mainstream Orthodox yet (perhaps mainstream MO, though?), it doesn’t seem to have caused a descent into assimilation or anything like that.

    Let me state that while I am feminist, I grew up in a more yeshivish-ish environment and therefore do not know enough about halacha to know whether or not women rabbis is problematic or not.
    However, I think that it as least worthy of a serious debate and should be considered an issue that deserves legitimate discussion (even if Orthodoxy eventually outlaws it).

    Personally – and this is not addressed to you, Heshy, but people in general, I get peeved when people completely dismiss the idea of female rabbis off the bat or disparage the women with rabbinical aspirations by labeling or name-calling them. It’s one thing to consider an issue, delve into halacha, and come to a conclusion that it’s prohibited, but it’s quite another to imply that the issue doesn’t even deserve consideration or to mock people for whom this is clearly a serious and important value.

    • kissmei'mshomer March 22, 2010, 4:33 PM

      Just to clarify – I did not mean to imply that yeshivish people don’t know halacha. When I state “I grew up in a more yeshivish-ish environment and therefore do not know enough about halacha to know whether or not women rabbis is problematic or not,” I mean that as a girl in a BY-type school, I did not learn Gemara or many halachot that were not directly related to Shabbat, chagim, or kashrut. Hence I am not knowledgeable enough about the issues of “s’rara” or about halachic process in general.

    • Phil March 22, 2010, 4:50 PM

      Kissme,

      You’re missing an important part in you equation. A rabbi needs to be a rabbi in order to give halachic rulings. He actually needs to be at least a dayan, preferably a Rav. These aren’y just titles meant to go on a business card, they reflect his degree of general halachic knowledge.

      A pulpit Rabbi on the other had, only needs to be able to speak well enough to keep his congregants from falling asleep during the sermon. More often than not, they’ll take halachic issues to someone more knowledgeable.

      In the case of a woman, orthodox congregants don’t expect any qualified woman to have a title in order to give her legitimacy to councel people or give advice. Aside from a few die hard feminists that might ask her some questions, “Rabbat” Sara will likely be spending the next decade giving speeches defending her decision and right to get a Smicha.

      That’s why I’m saying it’s more of a publicity stunt, who knows, she’s probably end up on Oprah with Shmuly Boteach.

      If she’s such a tzadekes, she should start by covering her hair in accordance with halacha, at least she would look more like a rebbetzin instead of looking like a BT with real bad taste in clothes.

      • KissMeI'mShomer March 23, 2010, 1:45 AM

        “Youre missing an important part in you equation. A rabbi needs to be a rabbi in order to give halachic rulings. He actually needs to be at least a dayan, preferably a Rav. These areny just titles meant to go on a business card, they reflect his degree of general halachic knowledge.”
        Yes, I understand that rabbi is not just a term, but that it implies knowledge and a legitimacy to issue halachic rulings. Thats exactly my point: the reason that some women want a term like rabbah or rabbi is so they can have the ability to issue halachic rulings, an ability that is not conferred to rebbetzins, counselors, or advisors.
        “In the case of a woman, orthodox congregants dont expect any qualified woman to have a title in order to give her legitimacy to councel people or give advice.”
        Agreed. Neither men or women need a title in order to receive legitimacy to counsel people spiritually. Im not arguing that women in the Orthodox community today have no ability or outlet to lead, inspire, teach, etc. in the Jewish community without the title of rabbi or rabbah.
        However, if a man wants the ability to pasken or the title of a rabbi, we dont question his motives. We dont ask why they cant be satisfied with helping people without a title. We assume that theyre coming from a desire to contribute to halachic process and help Jews in their particular way. Why cant we give women who want to be rabbis the same benefit of the doubt?
        “Aside from a few die hard feminists that might ask her some questions, Rabbat Sara will likely be spending the next decade giving speeches defending her decision and right to get a Smicha. Thats why Im saying its more of a publicity stunt, who knows, shes probably end up on Oprah with Shmuly Boteach.”
        While I agree that mainstream Orthodoxy will never take her seriously as a rabbi, I dont think that implies that she is just a publicity stunt. Isnt it possible that people will actually be impressed by her knowledge and ability to psak that they will ask her serious questions? Im not going to enter an argument about whether her being a rabbi is halachically valid Im just questioning the fact that she does not have the ABILITY or that serious people wont recognize her abilities and come to respect her as a rabbi. Perhaps you will argue such people are halachically questionable, but my point is – that doesn’t make her a publicity stunt.

        “If shes such a tzadekes, she should start by covering her hair in accordance with halacha, at least she would look more like a rebbetzin instead of looking like a BT with real bad taste in clothes.”
        I didnt say shes a tzadekes I dont know her. But I’m willing to give the benefit of assuming that her desire to be a rabbi is l’shma – just like I would assume about any man. But considering she intends to be an MO rabbi, I cant say Im surprised or offended by the fact that she covers her hair in a way that is acceptable to many MO rabbis.
        Also bad taste in clothes? Perhaps I am overly sensitive, but I cant help but feel this discussion need not focus on external features that are not related to halacha. 🙂

        • Phil March 23, 2010, 10:07 AM

          Kissme,

          Fact remains that most frum Jews wouldn’t go to her for a psak, which is the only reason she would need the title of “rabbi/rabbit” for.

          As for covering her hair in accordance with modern Ortho Rabbis, I don’t think she’s in accordance with Rav Moshe, R. Soloveitchik or any other VALID poskim that head “lenient” tenedencies.

          If you’re going to include Avi Weiss in their category, we might as well end this conversation here, that guy’s about as valid as Donald Duck.

  • FrumGer March 22, 2010, 9:40 PM

    SB if all she cared about was really helping people out she should just a raise money for charity, volenteer at the JCC’s food pantry or help out of work yidden find jobs instead of speanding thousands of shul $$$ shleping her ass all over the country giving speeches about how important what she is doing is.
    she wants a title, and the best way to avoid being obvious is to say to all amillion times “I dont care about a title” course she does that is all she cares about. she wants her name in lights nothing more.

    Kiss me– So then by what you said it sounds like her desire is only for the power to lead and to be in authority .. she wishes to dominate someone? sounds like a narcisist- sounds like Jezabel….. Because if she could council already help already but needs to have this place of honor, this place of power, Whats next she will be commanding everyone to bow to her and worship her? i am leery of anyone that needs a title this badly that she will break thousands of years of tradition just satiate her desire. yetzer hora.

    • KissMeI'mShomer March 23, 2010, 1:31 AM

      I did not mean to imply that she is only interested in power. I am just acknowledging that a rabbi is a position that by default includes power and authority. I dont see why that should make her more power-hungry than any man who wants to become a rabbi. Besides, are women who are in positions of power necessarily narcissists or Jezebels?
      I agree that if she were only interested in helping people, she would not need the title. But I think you can say the same thing about men. Why do men need to become rabbis? Why do they need the ability to issue halachic rulings? Will they eventually want us to bow down to them? I mean, why can’t they just help people?
      We acknowledge that many men want to help the community in different ways, and one of those ways happens to include the power to make halachic rulings. So why is it inconceivable that there be women who want to help the community in the same way? Not just because there are men who do it, but because that personal way speaks to them and they’d be good at it?
      I think that youre saying that an Orthodox woman who wants to become a rabbi must really want to be a rabbi badly, likely more badly than many Orthodox men who are rabbinical students. Thats true the path is so much harder, and it is not in keeping with tradition. Perhaps that is what is frightening to people. Just what is it about being a rabbi that she wants SO badly? But just because they are willing to break tradition does not mean they are motivated only by personal power and greed. Why cant we assume that they many of them lshma and highly motivated or determined? Is it possible that they truly believe that it will help the Jewish community to have women as rabbis? Can’t they be the type of person who is willing to go against the grain (especially if it is not against halacha) to do what they feel is right? You can argue with whether they are right, wrong, misguided, etc. – but I think it’s unfair to automatically dismiss them all as power-hungry or self-serving.

      • Phil March 23, 2010, 10:12 AM

        Kissme,

        The fact that’s she’s parading around giving speeches about her so called achievement, proves exactly what her motives are, at least to me.

        If she were interested in acting as a rabbi, she’d be out selling people’s chametz and answering Pessach questions. Not that worried about sheilos would actually take them to her for a psak…

  • FrumGer March 22, 2010, 9:43 PM

    phil- are you hating on shmuley??– i just cant help it- i love that guy!

  • Phil March 23, 2010, 9:16 AM

    FrumGer,

    I have nothing against Shmuley at all. I find him quite comical, and he potrays us in a good way to the masses of people that likely have never met a frum Jew.

    I just brought him up regarding Oprah, because I can see her doing a show on Sara and getting him on the panel.

  • Vicki March 7, 2011, 6:26 AM

    Why exactly can’t a female Rabbi be mesader kiddushin/ gittin? As far as I know, all a kosher wedding needs are two witnesses, a valid ketubah and an item of value (usually a ring). A Rabbi is not really required as such, and is only there to make sure that everything is done according to halacha. Same story with a valid get.

    • Yoreh K'chetz (aka Phil) March 7, 2011, 6:54 AM

      Vicki,

      For the same reason that a woman can’t read the Torah. It’s technically permissible, but not done out of respect for the congregation (Gemara Megillah).

      • Vicki March 7, 2011, 3:11 PM

        Phil,

        Respect for *which part* of the congregation? Oh, how could I forget that quite a few frum men out there thing they *are* the congregation. Funny how all these rules of ‘respect’ and mitzvot like not hurting another person with words or not embarrassing them in public never seem to apply to women, somehow. Personally, I think it’s just a matter of male egos unable to deal with the fact that a woman has become more learned than them – achieved with hard work on her part while the men sat on their bums feeling superior.

        In any case, any Orthodox congregations that accept a female Rabbi and don’t deem it ‘disrespectful’ to themselves will also get over the BS that calling a woman up to the Torah or having her in charge of a kiddushin or gittin is ‘disrespectful’ to the congregation.

  • Carey Portman December 9, 2012, 3:32 PM

    DearRabba Hurwitz:

    Please let me know when you want to start you own shul……I support this so you have your own pulpit and that will make the greatest contribution to the Jewish community.

    Carey Portman

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