Thursday, October 8, 2015

Riverdale Synagogue Appoints Second Woman As Rabba

Jewish Week   Move at HIR seems to renege on Rabbi Avi Weiss’ promise; drives further wedge between centrist and ‘open’ Orthodoxy

While Rabba Sara Hurwitz of Riverdale’s Hebrew Institute (HIR) made headlines in 2010 as America’s first Orthodox “Rabba,” the negotiated title for female rabbi, she now has company.
In its newsletter last week, the 600-family Orthodox congregation in the Bronx welcomed the newly appointed Rabba Dr. Anat Sharbat, the second woman to assume the role in the congregation. In her part-time capacity, Rabba Sharbat, who holds a doctorate in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University, will be assuming all pastoral responsibilities, including counseling, lecturing, and presiding at lifecycle events. She could not be reached for comment.

Though the appointment met with a unanimous vote of approval from the synagogue’s board of trustees (with three abstentions), the move seems to renege on a prior agreement made between Rabbi Avi Weiss, rabbi emeritus of HIR, and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the largest coalition of Orthodox rabbis, that Rabba Hurwitz would be the one and only “rabba.” Subsequently the term “maharat” was used, a Hebrew acronym for “leader of Jewish law, spirituality and Torah.”

In 2010, Rabbi Weiss, then a member of the RCA, backtracked from his near-ordination of female rabbis under extreme pressure from the Orthodox right, agreeing instead to the rabba designation. At the time, the RCA expressed satisfaction at the controversy’s resolution and support for “appropriate” leadership roles for women. [...]


  1. Mr. Avi Weiss, having resigned from the RCA, is no longer bound by his agreement with them to not anoint any more so-called "Rabbas". So he know is back in manafacturing mode in creating more rabbits.

  2. I have heard anecdotally that many congregants are not too happy with this business (not necessarily against this rabbah business) but because this is not the purpose of a shul to push envelopes, to hire additional staff (which they claim is not needed), etc. They realize this is the rabbi's pet project, but they don't like the shul being used for this.

  3. Veal kaze ne'emar, Revava ketsemach hasadeh. A dime a dozen.

    Savta rabah

  4. Za'akat Sdom vaAmorah ki RABBAH!


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