Friday, September 11, 2009

Yeshiva training Orthodox women rabbis


Jewish Journal of LA (hat tip to RaP)

Today is the opening day of Yeshivat Mahara"t, a day I believe, that will go down in history. It is the first program open to Orthodox women that is willing not only to train, but to ordain women as spiritual leaders— as rabbinic leaders— in the Orthodox community. This is the message that I hope to impart to the inaugural class:

17 comments:

  1. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM

    In all probability, this will end in more of this: Haredi and Out of the Closet: Chani Getter's Unorthodox Journey (Forward, September 09, 2009) with more friction with the Orthodox world because no one from the Haredi, Hasidic, and virtually all of the Orthodox rabbinic world will accept this, leaving the women even more frustarted and enraged.

    So what they are doing is setting a breeding ground for a Judaic Orthodox-derived version of the ancient Greek "Lesbos" that is not rooted in either reality or the Torah. In turn they may have to join the Reform or Reconstructionist movements where they belong ideologicaly in any case that will welcome them with open arms.

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  2. No, they would never officially join any pre-existing non-Orthodox movement. They'll just give rise to another one and add to the variety.

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  3. What makes any of this "orthodox"? Them claiming it to be orthdox? (err, "open orthodoxy.)

    Such claim is as worthwhile as the reform and conservative claiming to be Judaism.

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  4. Nothing surprising here. In the US where the standards are so absurdly lax in regards to Kashrus and Geirus, it would be hypocrisy and sexist/misogynist to now stand on the stump of strict Halacha in order to deny women of their place as Rabbinical/spiritual leaders.

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  5. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 11, 2009 at 7:38 PM

    "Freelance Kiruv Maniac said...No, they would never officially join any pre-existing non-Orthodox movement. They'll just give rise to another one and add to the variety."

    Couldn't diasgree with you more and it reveals how out of touch you are with trends in America where the "movements" have been consolidating and moving closer to each other due to shrinking mebrship and reduced funding.

    It takes a lot of money and infrastructure to run a movement in as vast a place as North America and even if they can pay for the expensive man or woman power it's hard to find good people to lead and direct a viable movement.

    The secular UJA type federations have been uniting and consolidating for years. Outside of the Orthodox there are only three movements: Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist/Jewish Renewal and the latter is very small.

    There is talk all the time about the Reform uniting with the Conservatives as the latter rid themsleves of vestiges of nominal "Halacha" while the very Modern Orthodox have moved to unite themselves with some remaining "right wing" traditional Conservatives in the "Union of Traditioanl Judaism" which is a vague group of synagogues that still basically belong to either the Conservatives or Modern Orthodoxy.

    And among the Orthodox it's remained pretty much the same, with Haredim split between Chasidim and Litvish Yeshiva people, but all still lumped together as Charedim even with the Shas type Sephardim joining them, and then there are the Modern Orthodox and in Israel the MO wing is part of the Religious Zionist group. All pretty much the same groups that have been around the last 50 years. No really notable new movements. Just growth or shrinkage patterns of the ones that exist.

    So there will be no place to go for a group of Orthodox lady rabbis because they will be rejected by the mainstraem Orthodox and Haredi movement and the only place that would love to have them and welcome them with open arms is either the Reform/Reconstructionists and Conservative groups.

    As usual it will be a case of the Orthodox training rabbis for the non Orthodox movements by default, only in this case it will be lady rabbis, who are now high in demand in the non Orthodx world. They love 'em and they're gonna eat up this new batch that the ultra MOs are cookin' up for 'em. One can already hear them saying yum-yum, these are really just the right ones we need.

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  6. If one reads Maharat Hurwitz's piece in the Jewish Journal, the underlying reason for this yeshivah becomes clear.
    She quotes an Alshich to show that the entire congregation has holiness. Therefore, since women are just as holy as men they should have the same opportunities to become rabbis as men:
    "The Alshich, a Biblical commentator living in the 16th century in Safed, notes that everyone—kulchem, were standing “equally in the presence of the Lord, simultaneously.” What an idyllic image, where one’s gender or status was irrelevant; for men, women and children, old and young, rich and poor, alike were standing together, in partnership before God. "
    And as I read this, I thought: Hey, that's just what Korach said!

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  7. Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat 7:4

    A woman is ineligible to make legal rulings..

    Since the primary responsibility of a Rav is to make legal rulings(especially in Chutz L'Aretz), it would seem that there is a very big problem here.

    Since when is violating the Shulchan Aruch considered to be "Orthodox"?

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  8. Shulchan Aruch?

    To quote one US Rosh Yeshiva, "Does anyone REALLY hold by that anymore?"

    Name of the Rosh Yeshiva will provided upon request.

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  9. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM

    Re: Jersey Girl's latest come-back retort to mekubel, reminds one of that famous story of two baalei din who come to speak with a rov, while his rebbetzin just happens to overhear him say to each of the disputants when stating their case individually privately, that: "You are right!" So she confronts her husband the rov and says "I heard what you told them, how can you say that they are BOTH 'right'?" to which he replies: "You are ALSO right!"

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  10. retort to Mekubal -- I asked a Rosh Yeshivah how he could permit having Christian (idolatrous) teachers in the Jewish school, when it is forbidden according to the Shulchan Aruch. He responded by saying that nobody really holds by that anymore.

    Same goes for Chalav Yisroel labeled milk, which is only Chalav Yisroel according to security camera, or Bishul Yisroel food that relies on a heat-lamp heter that negates the need to have a Jew on hand to either add directly to the flame or put the food on the fire.

    Shulchan Aruch is dismissed all the time by Orthodox Rabbis. Where have you been?

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  11. Mike L said...

    retort to Mekubal -- I asked a Rosh Yeshivah how he could permit having Christian (idolatrous) teachers in the Jewish school, when it is forbidden according to the Shulchan Aruch. He responded by saying that nobody really holds by that anymore.
    Did he say that no one really holds by the Shulchan Aruch, or that specific instance. While admittedly it has been three years since I chozered Hilchot Avodah Zera, my understanding that it was forbidden to learn Torah from the nations, but not wisdom(aka Math, English ect.) Which role were these teachers filling? Please provide a reference to where the Shulchan Aruch says that it is forbidden to learn anything from an non-Jew. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is like the Shulchan Aruch saying one needs be 40 to learn Kabbalah(it just doesn't exist).
    Same goes for Chalav Yisroel labeled milk, which is only Chalav Yisroel according to security camera, or Bishul Yisroel food that relies on a heat-lamp heter that negates the need to have a Jew on hand to either add directly to the flame or put the food on the fire.
    I would like to know which Kasrut agency you are accusing of these abuses. Having personally worked as a Mashgiach in the last 5 years for three of the major Kashrut Agnencies in the US, and thus being aware of the standards of the other leading angencies, this is simply a fabrication. Please provide solid evidence of which Agencies hold these appalling standards.
    Shulchan Aruch is dismissed all the time by Orthodox Rabbis. Where have you been?
    If that statement is true, which it is NOT, then I would be forced to say the Chabad/Lubavitch really is the savior of Judaism as their consistent message has been, and is, that to be a Torah Observant Jew one must keep the commandments as outline by the Shulchan Aruch.

    Your claims are simply too strange to be believed. Please provide credible evidence or re-tract them.

    To Jersey Girl,

    Some "modern" Orthodox "Rosh Yeshiva" may have said that. However, I will retort that he is neither Orthodox nor deserving the title of Rosh Yeshiva. The travesty of certain institutions in the US is that while they give an Orthodox Semicha, their students have a Conservative or Reform ideology. That does not make them Orthodox Rabbis.
    Semicha was allowed to become an academic diploma, as opposed to what it was supposed to be, a sign of trust. Thus we are starting to reap the rewards of that.

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  12. The Rosh Yeshiva I mention above was the head of a "Chofetz Chaim" yeshiva at the time, reporting to Rabbi Grunblatt directly.

    I believe that Chofetz Chaim is considered quite haredi by American standards.

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  13. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 14, 2009 at 12:10 AM

    Jersey Girl: The Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva (aka Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yisrael Meir HaKohen, also known as Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim: Rabbinical Seminary of America (RSA), and often referred to as just Chofetz Chaim, and based in Queens NY) is a bread and species unto itself. It cannot be classified as either totally "Charedi" or fully "Modern" because while it is neither it has elements of both, and they are proud of it.

    Nevertheless, at any rate, they are are an all-male institution with one of the most comprehensive semicha programs in the Orthodox world, something like requiring twelve years of in-depth study and by the time and by the time a graduate takes a rabbinic or chinuch position they are usually very serious poskim in their own right.

    None of them is known to favor or show any signs of favoring what you may have overheard as a wise-crack or side-comment intended more in jest or to puzzle a listener (something rabbis love to do, because they too have wicked senses of humor quite often) than any serious guideline.

    Anyone who has met the Chofetz Chaimers would know that not in a thousand years would they agree to the notion let alone the creation and certification of lady rabbis by anyone, and that they would look in horror upon anyone who would wish to tag them and have them connected through "guilt by association" with a wild comment concerning the ordination of women as rabbis.

    So perish the thought and get rid of any fanciful ideas that the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva or any of its own rabbis or alumni would in any way shape size or form go along with the imagined implication of the comment you may or may not have heard.

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  14. Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim is in no way shape or form "modern orthodox" or anything closely resembling it. Its leadership clearly fall within what is colloquially referred to as Chareidi; its student/graduate body perhaps less so and better defined as leftwards Chareidi.

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  15. Jersey Girl,

    Once again you are making fanciful claims with no proof to back them up. To suggest or imply that the Rosh Yeshiva of Chafetz Chaim would suggest to not follow the Shulchan Aruch is incredible to the point of insanity. It is a serious Lashon HaRa/Motzei Shem Ra against a true Gadol.

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  16. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 14, 2009 at 12:07 PM

    Joseph, if you read the words I wrote I did NOT describe the Chofetz Chaim Yeshiva as "modern orthodox", you did.

    What I DID state was that they were "Modern", so that while they were indeed "Charedi" they also are unlike any other such yeshivas in America in the way they pride themselves on dressing and talking and pronouncing Hebrew and even the way they think and approach things.

    any of them are famous for donning white straw hats in the hot Summer months, something that no other "black hat yeshivas" do, and many of them do not wear only black jackets all the time unlike in the rest of the yeshiva world (that does not include YU students of course) who nowadays wear not just black hats only but also black or near black jackets and pants.

    The Chofetz Chaimers also pronounce their Hebrew more like Young Israel rabbis and they disdain the "yeshivish" pronounciations of "-oy-" or "-oi-", thus they would say "Toe-rah" and "mevoe-rach" and NOT "Toireh" and "mevoirach" if you get what I mean.

    There are also many other personality and character traits that they guard and exhibit as part of their being different, and it's those many small things that all add up to make them more connected to American "Modernity" (NOT "Modern Orthodoxy) than the members of the other Charedi yeshivas in America and certainly in Israel.

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  17. I do not know if my experience is representative but I know a girl who graduated Drisha (where the ceremony took lacce) and while her level of lamdanut is not as a traditional yeshiva it surly in the same level or more of most run of the mill BT yeshivas.

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