Thursday, July 08, 2010

IRF’s positive attitude toward female Jewish clergy

Rabbi Gil Student links to another good article, Orthodox Rabbinical Group Outlines Women’s Roles as “Clergy” and More, by Steven I. Weiss:

“In a noticeable contrast to the resolution of the mainstream Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America’s resolution forbidding Orthodox women rabbis, this resolution from the International Rabbinic Fellowship — a more-liberal group about 1/3 the size of the RCA — does just about everything but use the word “rabbi” to describe women’s roles in Orthodox life, calling for them to be “clergy,” “spiritual guides and mentors,” “preachers,” “teachers of Torah” and “persons who can… answer questions…in all areas of Jewish law in which they are well-versed.”

Here's a further quote from the resolution:

"In an effort to outline some practical guidelines that we believe our communities should consider – recognizing that each community and its rabbinic leadership retain the authority to determine what is appropriate for their communal context – we affirm that:

Observant and committed Orthodox women who are learned, trained and competent should have every opportunity to fully serve the Jewish community:

. . .

5. As spiritual guides and mentors, helping arrange and managing life-cycle events such as weddings, bar- and bat-mitzvah celebrations and funerals, while refraining from engaging in those aspects of these events that Halakha does not allow for women to take part in.

6. As presidents and full members of the boards of synagogues and other Torah institutions.”

Number 6 is in marked contrast to the policy of the leadership of Young Israel currently being protested by some of its member synagogues.


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