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Jewess » RCA Resolves: No Women Rabbis

RCA Resolves: No Women Rabbis


by Rebecca Honig Friedman

The Rabbinical Council of America adopted the following resolution at its annual conference this week, the crux of which is that women learned in Torah should be encouraged to be Jewish communal leaders but not in rabbinic roles, regardless of what they’re called:

Resolution on Women’s Communal Roles in Orthodox Jewish Life
Presented to the 51st Convention of The Rabbinical Council of America
April 26th 2010

1) The flowering of Torah study and teaching by God-fearing Orthodox women in recent decades stands as a significant achievement. The Rabbinical Council of America is gratified that our chaverim have played a prominent role in facilitating these accomplishments.
2) We members of the Rabbinical Council of America see as our sacred and joyful duty the practice and transmission of Judaism in all of its extraordinary, multifaceted depth and richness – halakhah, hashkafah, tradition and historical memory.
3) In light of the opportunity created by advanced women’s learning, the Rabbinical Council of America encourages a diversity of halakhically and communally appropriate professional opportunities for learned, committed women, in the service of our collective mission to preserve and transmit our heritage. Due to our aforesaid commitment to sacred continuity, however, we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title.
4) Young Orthodox women are now being reared, educated, and inspired by mothers, teachers and mentors who are themselves beneficiaries of advanced women’s Torah education. As members of the new generation rise to positions of influence and stature, we pray that they will contribute to an ever-broadening and ever-deepening wellspring of talmud Torah, yir’at Shamayim, and dikduk be-mitzvot.

[hat tip: TJC Newsdesk]

3 Responses to “RCA Resolves: No Women Rabbis”

  1. You don’t have to belong to the RCA or abide by their decisions to be Orthodox, do you?

    Does Avi Weiss belong to them?

  2. The RCA is just one of many Orthodox rabbinical associations, you can be Orthodox without believing what they say. Avi Weiss has started another Orthodox rabbinical association, called the International Rabbinic Fellowship. They will decide on the matter of women rabbis in June.

    Personally I don’t see the point in half-measures. If Avi Weiss feels that his graduates of Yeshivat Maharat have earned the title of Rabbi (after all, they are being taught the same curriculum as male Orthodox rabbinical students) he should give them that title, and not titles like “maharat” or “rabba” that nobody understands or recognizes. Of course people will object, but they object to “maharat” also, so why listen to them? You can’t please them without ending Yeshivat Maharat entirely.

  3. The RCA is just one of many Orthodox rabbinic fellowships; you don’t have to agree with their opinions or responsa to be Orthodox. Avi Weiss has cofounded a new Orthodox fellowship, the International Rabbinic Fellowship, and they will decide on whether they accept women rabbis in June.

    Personally I don’t see the point in half-measures. If Avi Weiss thinks that the graduates of Yeshivat Maharat are qualified to be rabbis (after all, they learn the same curriculum and pass the same tests as male Orthodox rabbinical students) then he might as well give them the title Rabbi. Of course most of the Orthodox won’t agree to recognize them, but that will also happen if they are called Maharat or any other title. So might as well go with the usual title that reflects what they have learned and doesn’t have to be constantly explained.

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