So-Called-Orthodox Woman Rabbi

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The Jerusalem Post (link) is reporting that Haviva Ner-David has been ordained a rabbi by an Orthodox rabbi who is “well-regarded in modern Orthodox circles,” Rabbi Aryeh Strikovsky (WHO???). Mrs. Ner-David is calling herself an Orthodox rabbi. Unfortunately for advocates of female Orthodox rabbis, they seem to have been given a radical for their poster-child.

According to this article, which could very well be wrong, Mrs. Ner-David has “been called up to the Torah twice since [her] ordination.” She prays while wearing tefillin and tzitzis. And she speaks of the rabbinate as perpetuating a “patriarchal, hierarchical model.” A book on which she is working discusses, among other things, “creating rituals for miscarriage [and] designing egalitarian Jewish wedding ceremonies that will guarantee women’s equal status during the marriage and in the event of divorce.”

In other words, this is a woman rabbi who speaks and acts like a Conservative rabbi. It’s only news because she calls herself Orthodox. But, according to the article, she is no fool: “She knows that some Orthodox Jews will not accept her ordination and will not acknowledge her religious and social status as a rabbi.” I’d say that “some” is the understatement of the year.

(See this post on the ordination of women.)

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student currently is serving his third term on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and also serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Board of Jewish Action magazineand the Board of OU Press. He has published four English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

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