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JTS ordains first openly frum gay femalerabbi

I wanted to lead a halachically observant community so decided it was best to transfer to JTS where it would be far more likely Id be working at a congregation that kept kosher, was more Shabbat observant and had more davenning with traditional nusach things I grew up with that were part of my personal practice, said Rachel Isaacs who on May 19th became the first openly gay frum female rabbi to be ordained by the JTS.

Up until 5 years ago the JTS was following a more traditional, some may say Haredi interpretation of the Torah, but after 20 years of debate they decided that they would become more modern orthodox-esque and allow gay clergy to be ordained.

Not only is Rachel Isaacs the first openly gay frum female rabbit be ordained by the JTS, but she’s a super hottie and he hair looks like a sheitle. Go take a gander at the women rabbis on google images, they aren’t much to look at – such a shame that the one hottie has to play for the other team.

{ 119 comments… add one }
  • Avrumy May 26, 2011, 11:02 AM

    Very interesting. When do we get a hottie male rabbi out there?

    • Telz Angel May 26, 2011, 5:06 PM

      Proof that Avrumy is a Telzer. I knew plenty of your type in the dorms too.

      • Avrumy May 27, 2011, 5:39 AM

        I honestly don’t know what that means. A “Telzer”? I didn’t go to any brand name yeshiva.

        • Telz Angel May 27, 2011, 7:42 AM

          In the yeshiva circles, Telz has a certain reputation of having a slightly higher proportion of students who, shall we say, explored their identity (given the lack of any female contact). A few kids were kicked out for various exploratory activities. Some would say that telzers line their black hats with rainbow flags.

          Yes, it is a vicious rumor an an outright lie. Thus perfectly suitable for out-ing on this site.

          • Avrumy May 27, 2011, 7:58 AM

            Hmm. Maybe they need a new dorm counselor? wink wink

  • Mike May 26, 2011, 11:13 AM

    This is just SICK

  • OfftheDwannaB May 26, 2011, 11:16 AM

    She looks frum.

    • Telz Angel May 26, 2011, 12:03 PM

      The big machlokes: Less filling vs. Tastes great.

    • batsheva May 26, 2011, 1:05 PM

      She looks frum because her hair looks like a sheitel.

  • Telz Angel May 26, 2011, 11:56 AM

    @FrumeSarah is very attractive woman Rabbi too, as is @rabbirebecca. IMO @nakusher, @rabbiamy, @ravheidi, @RabbiErin less so — nice looking and all, but not particularly hot. Ah, there are so many women rabbis to gaze at (seriously). But Ruchie here (can I call her that?) is especially cute — because she has the frum come-hither look. I know some chabadnics with the same look. It pushed the shtender out just a bit if you know what I mean.

    Heshy, we need a Hot or Not for these babes — and who will be the hottest women rabbi? America — you decide. Just text in your votes.

    And this just proves that we are all ready for women rabbis because we will take them seriously.

    • Telz Angel May 26, 2011, 12:00 PM

      BTW — there’s nothing hotter than than kind of woman who plays for the other team — but you just know (in your fantasy, of course) that you can change her — you can bring her back. All you need is a once chance.

      I wonder if I can walk to Park Slope on Shabbos… hmmm.

  • Anonymous May 26, 2011, 11:56 AM

    Hottie? Nottie!

  • David May 26, 2011, 11:59 AM

    I wish that the Conservative movement would stop claiming that they are a halachic movement and admit that they are just Reform with a more traditional service

    • Ben May 26, 2011, 12:47 PM

      A reformed Reform, if you will? (Or, 20 years behind the Reform movement, as my rabbi says).

      There’s also the whole patrilineal descent that they don’t follow. But you’re right.

    • dk May 26, 2011, 1:24 PM

      likewise, i wish the charedi movement would stop thinking they are torah true judiasm…

      • David May 26, 2011, 1:31 PM

        Can you give me a specific example of how Chareidim are not true to the Torah?
        I’m not talking about the sins of individuals, but official stances of institutions that go against what the Torah says?

        • Misty Nagged May 26, 2011, 5:09 PM

          Davening at the kever of their Rebbe. Where in the Torah does that happen? Moshe’s kever was hidden to prevent this behavior.

          • Dan May 26, 2011, 5:29 PM

            Is that your best shot?

            The Midrash Eicha Rabba says that when the first temple was being destroyed, Jeremiah prayed to G-d to stop it. G-d advised him to visit the graves of the patriarchs since they would know better how to pray to G-d. Jeremiah then went to the Patriarchs tomb in Hebron, and they prayed, but G-d rebuffed them as well. Jeremiah then went to Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem, and she prayed.
            G-d was moved by Rachel’s prayer and responded that there would be an ultimate redemption.

            • right on May 27, 2011, 8:08 AM

              Likewise, Yakov Avinu buried Rochel on the side of the road in Bais Lechem and not at Meoras Hamachpela, so that the jews could daven at her tomb when going into “golus” (see rash”i there who brings this medrash)

        • dk May 27, 2011, 10:17 AM

          1) anti-zionist
          2) kollel/welfare over job (in direct contradiction to what, for example the ramban says…and the mishnah in kiddushin where it says that you need to teach your kids a skill
          3) “klal yisrael” in the charedi worldview basically means people that only agree with them

      • Liviah August 15, 2011, 11:16 PM

        well said dk.
        Being true to the Torah also demands humility, no?

    • Jonathan Roytenberg March 28, 2012, 7:53 PM

      The reason why they think this way, even though I disagree with the heters they are introducing (women and openly gay rabbis, egalitarian davening, driving to shul on Shabbos, etc.), might be because the movement was created as a conservative reaction to Reform, not as a liberal alternative to Orthodoxy.

  • Liberalworldsaviour May 26, 2011, 12:38 PM

    I with the chareidi world would stop claiming that they are a halachic movement…

  • Anon May 26, 2011, 12:41 PM

    Where in the article does it say that she is “frum.”
    I didn’t see anything to indicate that.
    If she is wearing a talit, davening in a shul that has no mechitzah, and engaging in lesbian conduct, these are all things that are forbidden by halacha. If she purposes, deliberately and habitual violates halacha, how can she be called “frum.”

    • Heshy Fried May 27, 2011, 7:27 PM

      Jeez do you people think I’m being serious.

    • Anonymous May 29, 2011, 7:11 PM

      That has to be the most pathetic argument I have read today. I know many “well-respected” Rabbis who treat other people like crap. If you’ve ever opened up a Chumash, you may remember how many times it forbids being hatred and maltreatment of others, and how rarely it discusses homosexuality. If openly and deliberately violating halacha makes someone “unfrum”, I’d challenge you to find a frum member of the Va’ad.

  • ploni May 26, 2011, 12:47 PM

    openly frum? i’d rather be in the closet, thanks

  • SJ May 26, 2011, 1:02 PM

    Gay rabbi is a mockery of the Torah.

    • anonymous 2.0 May 27, 2011, 6:59 AM

      What’s a “torah”?

    • Anonymous May 30, 2011, 11:58 AM

      Count me in.

  • Anon May 26, 2011, 1:33 PM

    Can someone explain to me why this women is refered to as frum?
    She wears a talit though a women, davens in a mixed seating shul with no mechitzah and engages in lesbianism.
    All of these things are forbidden by halacha, therefore she is not frum.
    I’m not saying no frum person ever sins, but they usually don’t deny that a halacha exists and perpetually violate it on a regular basis.

    • RebTirza July 2, 2011, 11:38 PM

      By the way, not all laws are from the Torah. Meaning, most of halacha, at least halacha of TODAY is rabbinically decreed. Therefore, being frum is basically being more externally observant than others. Observance does not denote spiritualitym nor does it means one is a better person for doing so. The concept of FRUM has been twisted, mutilated, and basically gone through the blender, resulting in a Judaism that does not resemble original Orthodoxy at all. It has become a religion of Obsessive Compulsives watching eachother as we try to out-frum our fellow Jews. Tznius being a prime example. Separation of men and women to the extent that exists now is now original Judaism.
      Rabbis have built up the requirements needed to be compliant with the laws, creating a skewed Judaism. Hopefully, my fellow women rabbis can help rectify the damage done.

  • Feh! May 26, 2011, 2:54 PM

    Heshy, you really are desperate if this carpet muncher turns you on.
    Those eyes would make Edgar Allan Poe kill her.

  • Feh! May 26, 2011, 2:56 PM

    As an aside, how is she a frum rabbi or rabbit (definitely no bunny) if she’s ordained by the JTS?

  • Yoreh K'chetz May 26, 2011, 4:07 PM

    Frum l*sbian rabbi??? Can you get more of an oxymoron???
    Wearing a tallit and getting so called smicha, talk about wanting to fulfill some perverted butch fantasy.

    I’ve never heard of JTS, but after this, I don’t think they fall into any orthodox category. These sickos are turning Judaism into a freak show.

    Now, all we need is a neo nazi rabbi from another planet that abducts obese Jews on Friday night and forces them into weight watchers.

    • Sergeant j May 29, 2011, 9:55 AM

      Is that how you plan on dropping a few stone?

  • Gay Shluffin May 26, 2011, 4:27 PM

    Yup, Orthodox Jews are the chilul hashem of Judaism and this gay “Torah” Jewess is the one that’s ushering in the Messiah.

    • Jonathan Roytenberg March 28, 2012, 8:00 PM

      I disagree with your generalization. I am Modern Orthodox, and I see that it’s only a small minority of “Ultra” Orthodox who are actually committing acts of Chillu Hashem. I regularly attend a Beis Midrash, and the people there (mostly “black hats”) are very welcoming.

      • Jonathan Roytenberg March 28, 2012, 8:01 PM

        make that ‘chillul’

  • Dr. Shrink May 26, 2011, 4:39 PM

    I’d hit that faster than a latke on Chanukah….faster than a Lubavitcher hitting the vodka at a farberngen.

  • FarNorth May 26, 2011, 5:26 PM

    Instead of “wanting to lead a halachically observant community”, she should want to lead a halchically observant lifestyle. I truly love all Jews but I must object to the legitmization of an Issur D’Araisah. It is just sad what people have come to. We all do Aveiros but please don’t publicize yours or act like it’s okay.

    • Aliza T. May 26, 2011, 9:39 PM

      being lesbian isn’t assur d’oraisah. (the act itself is d’rabonon, even male gays aren’t d’oraisah unless they actually do it)

    • G*3 May 26, 2011, 10:27 PM

      > I must object to the legitmization of an Issur DAraisah

      She’s a woman. From what I’ve heard, halchically it’s not even an issur d’rabanan, just a bad thing.

      • David May 27, 2011, 5:47 AM

        It is definately an issur d’rabanan and according to some (I believe the Rambam) it is an issur d’araisah. He says that the prohibition in the Torah not to follow in the ways of Egypt means among other things not to engage in lesbianism. There is even a rabbinic injunction against allowing one’s wife to associate with lesbians.

      • David May 27, 2011, 5:51 AM

        It is definately forbiden rabbinically and according to some minority opinions the prohibtion has roots in the Torah

      • uhhhh May 27, 2011, 8:22 AM


  • Frumnik Flatbush May 26, 2011, 5:56 PM

    I should not judge, but she is clearly not frum if she was ordained a rabbi by the conservative movement. First of all, a frum rabbi cannot be a woman. Second of all, even if she was a man, she would not be able to be ordained by ACTUAL authorities be she would be a homosexual man. Thirdly, the conservative movement is not frum at all. I went to a maasorti “temple” when I was younger, and most definitely was not frum, especially when pretending that being gay was normal and alright, among MANY other things. Gay man, or whatever your name is, Orthodox Judaism is true Judaism whether you like it or not. The fact is, the Torah believes you are abhorrent to Gd. Overall, she clearly is not frum.

  • Gadol Hador May 26, 2011, 6:08 PM

    Who am I?

    I don’t believe in God
    I advertise my gay lifestyle.
    I eat pig.
    I don’t have a bris.
    My parents aren’t Jewish.
    I wear a cross around my neck.
    I practice celibacy (besides with my gay partner).
    I believe in the new testament.

    So who am I?

    What did you call me?! Why I’m truly offended you think that. No, no silly. I’m in fact a Torah observant Orthodox Jewish Rabbi. I just interpret the Torah sliiiiightly different than those reform fanatics who think it’s their way or no way. (In case you were wondering, I of course religiously observe Yom Haatzmaut.)

  • Tirtza May 26, 2011, 6:58 PM

    She look so much like one of my sisters it’s amazing, and my sister has that sheitle!

  • Dan May 26, 2011, 7:27 PM

    I should mention that the comments on the website this article is linked to are great.
    But it is probably us. So we may as well post here.

  • ReadingRailroadRabbi May 26, 2011, 9:26 PM

    Great! so the maydle wants to play rabbi. Does she know halacha? Any Shulchan Aruch? Taz? Shach? K’tzos? ok ok, Mishnah Brurah? How’s about at least Kitzur!?

    Being a ‘Rabbi’ is like being a lawyer, its friggin HARD! I know! I’ve done it! Cross reference, loopholes, intricate knowledge of the mechanics of Jewish Law. At the very least knowing a few score books and, thats besides knowing what to believe and what to brush off! It takes years and years of boring diligent hard work.

    Anyhow, can she be a mohel too? You know what they say, The mohel gets all the tips.

    • Aliza T. May 26, 2011, 9:44 PM

      She prob does know all that stuff cuz she just spent 5 year (or whatever) learning it! they don’t just ordain you for nothing! or do u not think a woman is capable of understanding that crap?!?

      • ReadingRailroadRabbi May 26, 2011, 10:06 PM

        Well, if its crap a woman can most defiantly understand it.

        • Anonymous May 28, 2011, 12:02 PM

          You seem to have a very poor regard for a woman’s intellect.

          I wonder where all that misogyny comes from.

          • ReadingRailroadRabbi May 29, 2011, 10:17 PM

            From growing up with 6 sisters. I tell ya, I’m deaf in my right ear from shabbos meals and thing #4 sitting on my right side.

            Go back to the kitchen

            • Anonymous May 31, 2011, 2:38 PM

              My name is Dan. I happen to be an excellent cook but I do not think that is how you meant it. I grew up with only two sisters and while I endured a lot of high decibel noise I happen to like my sisters very much

      • Synapse May 27, 2011, 5:07 AM

        In JTS they spend 5 years learning various Jewish things: Torah, gemara, halacha, but when they finally find a position in a shul, they spend a lifetime forgetting it and breaking it because there isn’t even a handful of people who are remotely interested in following the conservative movement’s ideas of what constitutes halacha.

        The only thing they learn in JTS that is useful to them is the parts on pastoral counselling and sermon writing.

    • Anonymous May 28, 2011, 1:39 PM

      For the record, she’s actually brilliant.
      It’s amazing…who died and said lashon hara was okay??

    • S. Tefilinov May 29, 2011, 7:39 AM

      Some rabbi she is. When JTS did not accept lesbian applicants, she attended a Reform seminary. Then she transferred to JTS when it became acceptable.

      Clearly, she was “shopping for a forum” as lawyers would say. In contrast, Orthodox gays deserve more respect. They stick to halacha as it should be, instead of shopping for denominations.

      • ReadingRailroadRabbi May 30, 2011, 10:42 AM

        Any single older guy should have some sympathy for orthogays. Imagine knowing that if you want to stick to halacha you will never ever get any.

        Sitting around ’till you’re 30 is hard enough,



        • Dan May 30, 2011, 7:15 PM

          On the other hand, maybe if you know you’ll never get any ever, you can just make peace with it and move on.

          • S. Tefilinov May 31, 2011, 4:43 AM

            An any rate, it’s still more honorable than this lesbian rabbi.

  • Aliza T. May 26, 2011, 9:47 PM

    YOU GO GIRL!!!!!! (thats my message to Rabbi Rebecca Isaacs) (rather cliche, i know)

    • Chris_B June 4, 2011, 11:44 PM

      So what is your message to Rabbi Antonio DiGesus, an openly gay man ordained by JTS?

  • Devora May 27, 2011, 1:16 AM

    Telz-Your argument was used to prove women couldn’t join the workforce or politics, or be in a newspaper. Nechama Leibovitz complained that the main thing people talked about wasn’t her scholarhship but her baseball cap. In fact, it’s used to hold various racial groups back also. Well, we can’t control what people say about us or how the world perceives us, but that’s no reason to limit our opportunities. Sooner or later, no matter how preoccupied people are with women’s appearances, they still have to hear what they say and do. So get ready to get ready.

  • Adam May 27, 2011, 3:02 AM

    JTS – “haredi interpretation”???
    “become more modern orthodox-esque and allow gay clergy to be ordained.” ??????????????????????

    Heshy, did you write this? It ill becomes you, mate.

  • Frumsatire Fan May 27, 2011, 9:37 AM

    You see, wishing for the best, maybe she’ll be one TOUGH lesbian rabbi and her Conservative shul will become the frummest of the non-frum.

  • Yoreh K'chetz May 27, 2011, 11:19 AM

    Looks like my previous comment never made it.

    She and her movement are an insult to Orthodox/frum Judasim. I suspect her putting on a Tallit has something to do with some twisted butch fantasy.

    Next, we’ll have nazi alien rabbis that invade from Mars and force overweight frummies into weightwatchers.

    • anonymous 2.0 May 27, 2011, 3:48 PM

      How is it an insult to orthodox judaism? Shes a Conservative rabbi. I do agree that gays are basically the same as nazis though. Kudos.

      • Anonymous May 28, 2011, 1:29 PM

        What evil words!

      • Yoreh K'chetz May 28, 2011, 7:36 PM

        Anon 2.0,

        I never compared gays to nazis.

      • DannyBoy May 31, 2011, 3:23 PM

        I can only assume you are joking when you compare gays to nazis. You know you have gone too far when even Phil has to distance himself. If on the outside chance you are serious when you say something so ridiculous, I would suggest rigorous psychotherapy and a long talk with your rabbi who will probably smack the s$&t out of you for saying something so disgusting.

  • Heshy Fried May 27, 2011, 7:30 PM

    I guess due to the fact that almost everyone thought this article was a serious one – it was really clever. Jeez, how many of you thought I was writing seriously.

    • ReadingRailroadRabbi May 31, 2011, 7:46 AM

      Whats with the nazi all the time? Grampa tells me the Lithuanians where twice as bad.

      And yeah Hesh! Geeze this satire thing is kinda hard to pull off…I mean its only in the name of the website, no?

      Gay-Female-Lesbian-Observant-Rabbi does have a Fb kinda ring to it…

  • Jeff Marker May 28, 2011, 11:15 PM

    That is her “dress up” look. Usually she wears pants and is not so “fem,” though I have to admit she is attractive. Today she wore jeans to shul (not unusual in our shul, where she dovens until she moves to her congregation in Maine this summer)

    Hershy – sorry no one got the satire.

    …and she has a girlfriend.

    • Avi May 29, 2011, 2:06 AM

      woopy doo

  • AIS May 29, 2011, 12:09 AM

    Is lesbianism really an abomination according to the torah? Not according to one very orthodox rabbi that I posed this question to. He said that it is unclear. This is a rabbi in a respected yeshiva. We were discussing the arayos. The torah only discusses men who are gay, not women.

    • Jonathan Roytenberg March 28, 2012, 8:10 PM

      This rabbi was correct. According to my understanding, the Torah is speaking of relations between two men (not women), but the rabbis forbade lesbianism.

  • AIS May 29, 2011, 12:11 AM

    is lesbianism the same as homosexuality according to the torah?

    • Jonathan Roytenberg August 26, 2012, 8:40 AM

      Both male and female homosexual acts are ossur according to halachah. However, male homosexuality is ossur d’oraisa, and lesbianism is ossur d’rabbanan. And only male homosexuality (i.e. male-male anal sex), when done intentionally, in the presence of two kosher witnesses, after a warning (an unlikely occurance), carries the death penalty of s’kilah.

  • Anonymous May 29, 2011, 7:13 PM

    Reading these comments have made me rather depressed. I’m not a self-hating Jew, but damn if we don’t suck.

  • Flatbush May 29, 2011, 8:50 PM

    Lesbianism is a disgusting thing. Against the Torah by all means.

    • Telz Angel June 5, 2011, 12:05 AM

      Dear flat bush
      I too was once rejected by a lezzie. But I got over it. You should let go of your resentments.

  • Ken June 29, 2011, 1:23 PM

    Heshy–don’t despair. I just read this one and I thought it was funny.

  • Moish the spacedout BT July 4, 2011, 1:40 PM

    Stonewall and the Kosel will never meet.

  • Jonathan Roytenberg March 28, 2012, 7:45 PM

    “they decided that they would become more modern orthodox-esque and allow gay clergy to be ordained.” I feel this is an incorrect statement. Even Modern Orthodox yeshivos will not ordain those who commit homosexual acts. They also don’t ordain women, with the exception of one.

  • Moish the spacedout BT March 29, 2012, 6:20 PM

    But does she know how to make a potato kugel?

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