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