Important Policy Decisions from the RCA Convention

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From the RCA (link):

Resolution on Women’s Communal Roles in Orthodox Jewish Life Adopted Without Dissent by the 51st Convention of The Rabbinical Council of America

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.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, 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 serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five 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.

2 comments

  1. S. 04/27/2010 01:21 PM
    The order is funny. All anyone cares about is #3; it’s like they tried to slip it in there.
    ———-
    Ira1 04/27/2010 01:23 PM
    “we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title.”

    Wow. I can’t imagine how HIR and company do not splinter off.
    ———-
    Michael Makovi 04/27/2010 01:44 PM
    1 person liked this.
    I see a contradiction. According to #1, 2, and 4, women may learn and teach Torah. So if a woman is learned in Talmud and gives shiurim, or teaches Messilat Yesharim, or what have you, then this is to be celebrated.

    But then we read that ” … we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, REGARDLESS OF THE TITLE.”

    So if the woman teaching Talmud or Messilat Yesharim has the title of “Mrs.” or “Dr.” or “Ma’am”, or “Professor”, then the RCA cannot accept her, regardless of her title.

    The RCA has said that women’s ordination is forbidden, regardless of title. But since ordination – at least nowadays – indicates nothing other than a person who can teach Torah, forbidding ordination regardless of title is tantamount to forbidding a woman to teach Torah, irrespective of title. But #1, 2, and 4 already permitted women to teach Torah!!
    ———-
    moshe shoshan 04/27/2010 01:47 PM
    I think its a pretty good consensus statement. Note that no halachic claims are made with regard to female rabbis.
    ———-
    HAGTBG 04/27/2010 01:56 PM in reply to Michael Makovi
    Two thoughts, perhaps not entirely in accord with each other:

    They were referring to pulpit position rabbis, not teachers. And I think even there they are referring to using such a person as the primary posek. So that if Dr. Sarah Almoni teaches Talmud this decision is not relevant, if people are going to her for psak and she’s the communal leader it is.

    Read the first half of the sentence to be in line with the text exchanged between the RCA and R A Weiss and the second half to be referring to women not being allowed membership in the RCA. If you read it that way, its saying nothing new.
    ———-
    joel rich 04/27/2010 02:20 PM
    `When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’
    OK- now let history march on.
    KT
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 02:21 PM in reply to Michael Makovi
    Michael Makovi wrote in part:

    “But then we read that ” … we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, REGARDLESS OF THE TITLE.”

    So if the woman teaching Talmud or Messilat Yesharim has the title of “Mrs.” or “Dr.” or “Ma’am”, or “Professor”, then the RCA cannot accept her, regardless of her title.”

    Ain Haci Nami
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 02:25 PM
    I see no contradiction whatsoever in this resolution. The first two aspects are introductory, the third is the nuts and bolts and the fourth is praise for women’s learning within MO. The third statement reiterates the obvious-female ordination is contrary to the Mesorah.
    ———-
    Natan 04/27/2010 02:32 PM
    I do not read the statement the way Michael Makovi has. It seems to me that the offending phrase “we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title” was not meant to address teachers, only those women who would be seen as equals to Rabbis in an official capacity, not in a teaching capacity.
    ———-
    S. 04/27/2010 02:32 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    Rabbinical Seminary ordination was also contrary to the Mesorah. Did not the greatest Gedolim oppose Rabbinical Seminaries? Doesn’t that mean RIETS ordination is contrary to the Mesorah?
    ———-
    Joseph 04/27/2010 02:34 PM
    It’s a good start by the RCA.
    ———-
    Henry 04/27/2010 02:39 PM
    When I grew up the only reason to have semicha was to be a Rabbi. Many many talmedei chachomim and magedei shiur did not have “semicha:”. As a matter of fact it was called “heter horaah”

    I think today we are very concerned with status and titles. The title means nothing. Recent (for a lot of years) news regarding people with religious titles should be a clue that those titles and religious practice and obligation do not necessarily intersect.

    The emphasis, I think, is social and political, not religiois.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 02:43 PM
    Joseph Kaplan and others on a different, but related thread-note that item #3 of this resolution viewed female ordination as beyond the pale. This resolution said absolutely nothing that prohibited a qualified woman from serving as a head of school, shul or communal officer or board member, all of which are positions that women can serve in, but which are also a function of local custom as to whether women have, are or should so serve. I am not sure what the rationale is but it appears IMO to be based on considerations of Mesorah and the public/private dichotomy between shuls and all other institutions that we have discussed without any closure as to what public and private mean in any mutually satisfactory fashion.

    It bears noting and emphasizing that one can find many women educators in both the MO and Charedi worlds who serve as the heads of schools, with a lay board that raises the $ and a rabbinical board overseeing halachic, chinuch and hashkafa issues. IIRC, Agudah , OU and the NCYI all employ women in various important capacities. I can’t vouch for Agudah or NCYI, but women have served on the national boards of the OU and its various commissions for years.
    ———-
    mycroft 04/27/2010 02:51 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    If one reads the third paragraph to mean that the RCA can’t accept her-as accept into membership-it is reiterating something that is obvious to a child of 2.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 02:55 PM in reply to S.
    S-your point is well taken with respect to the view by Gdolim of such seminaries, including RIETS in its earliest format as smicha factories, as opposed to the traditonal view of yeshivos for the teaching and study of Torah Lishmah. However, today, the Charedi yeshivos grant what they view as the equivalent of Smicha and many Talmidie Chachamim. in Israel such as R ZN Goldberg, also privately grant Smicha after extensive take home bchinos. RIETS is a yeshiva that grants smicha and has many tracks for rabbonus, chinuch, etc. I suspect that opposition to RIETS today has nothing to do with whether its ordination is contrary to the Mesorah, but rather because of the urban mythology surrounding RIETS, YU and MO within the Charedi world.
    ———-
    mycroft 04/27/2010 02:56 PM in reply to Ira1
    I do not know HIR-but if they take open positions against standard Halachik practice as determined by the vast majority of current Halachik scholars-that states a position much more important than the position on womens tiles.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 03:01 PM in reply to mycroft
    I think that the resolution clearly states that “[d]ue 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.”

    Once you understand that ordination of women and recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate is beyond the pale, then consideration of such personae as members is a moot issue.
    ———-
    moshe shoshan 04/27/2010 03:07 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    1 person liked this.
    it is obvious that ordination of women is contrary to Jewish traditional practice. It is not at all obvious that it is contrary to “the Mesorah” with a capital “M”. I do not think it is coincidental that the RCA did not make use of this word..
    ———-
    Ira1 04/27/2010 03:09 PM in reply to mycroft
    But lets think about a shul like HIR which employs Female Rabbinate to do the same job as the male rabbinate, how is their constituency going to sit back and allow their male assistaint rabbi to be recognized by the RCA as legitimate clergy, but their female assistaint rabbi (which is what sara hurwitz is) is deemed illegitimate, and the RCA does not recognize one of their shul’s assistant rabbi’s as “members of the orthodox rabbinate.” Sooner or later they will either a) backtrack and get rid of the female clergy (unlikely) or b) repudiate in some way the RCA’s non acceptance of their female clergy.
    ———-
    Moshe Y 04/27/2010 03:10 PM in reply to Michael Makovi
    Michael, obviously by “regardless of title” they mean RABINNIC title, a religious title meant to indicate status as clergy such as rabbi or maharat. Obviously mrs and Dr are not a problem
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 03:10 PM in reply to moshe shoshan
    I think that “Jewish traditional practice” is code for Mesorah.
    ———-
    guestyc 04/27/2010 03:20 PM in reply to mycroft
    A member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America openly goes against RCA resolutions.

    Any member Rabbi whose shul board and governance is not executed with 100% transparency goes against RCA resolutions.

    Any RCA Rabbi that does not devote a sermon within the next year to child abuse is going against an RCA resolution.
    ———-
    mycroft 04/27/2010 03:20 PM in reply to moshe shoshan
    Traditional yahadus is much more than what came down from Sinai-what has been accepted is our tradition. The reason we follow the Shulchan Aruch is not because R YosephKaro was a great scholar-but rather that his view of Halacha was accepted. Similar to chatimas haTalmud it is crucial because Klall Israel accepted it as its canon.
    We don’t have the authority to reopen standard accepted halachik practices.
    ———-
    mycroft 04/27/2010 03:25 PM in reply to Ira1
    I’m not even sure what the Senior Rabbi of HIR believes. If he is attempting a R Broyde approach of treating more females as “ministers ofthe gospel” to take advantage of potential certain tax advantages? is he attempting to play a PR game and change nothing? is he attempting to make a schism between him and the vast majority of those who believe in mesorah? I don’t know.
    ———-
    markdratch 04/27/2010 03:25 PM
    In addition to the Women’s Leadership resolution, the following issues were also the subject of resolutions as well. They deal with significant issues and deserve our attention as well. The texts can be accessed at http://www.rabbis.org/news/index.cfm?type=policies

    Resolution: Supporting Operation Cast Lead and Opposing the Goldstone Report
    Resolution: Condemning and Combating Child Abuse
    Resolution: Expressing Concern and Developing Sensitivity for Disaster Victims
    Resolution: Exercising Care When Interacting With General Society
    Resolution: Supporting and Defending Converts
    Resolution: Extending the Ethical Guidelines Initiative to Businesses Beyond Kashruth
    Resolution: Supporting Operation Cast Lead and Opposing the Goldstone Report
    Resolution: Dialogue and Partnering with the Greater Orthodox Organizational World
    Resolution: Assisting Rabbis in Difficult Employment Situations
    Resolution: Post-High School Torah Study in Israel
    Resolution: Preserving Jewish Religious Sites in the Land of Israel
    Resolution: Avowing the Religious and Historical Significance of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel
    ———-
    Shlomo 2 04/27/2010 03:26 PM
    And where would Yo’atzei Halacha fit in to this?

    Do they have the (halachic, political) advantage of generally limiting themselves to women’s issues and are therefore OK?

    Or, are they “members of the Orthodox Rabbinate” because they render halachic advice??
    ———-
    Bob Miller 04/27/2010 03:30 PM in reply to Shlomo 2
    Or are they another variety of Trojan horse, despite their best intentions?
    ———-
    Joseph Kaplan 04/27/2010 03:36 PM
    I appreciate Steve trying to save me time by speaking on my behalf, but I’d much rather do so myself. My initial reaction to this resolution is that the RCA is trying to clam the waters and prevent a serious split in their organization and their MO community. And in this regard I think they did a good job. The obvious (to me, anyway) problem with the resolution is that a key phrase, or perhps THE key phrase — Orthodox rabbinate — is not defined. So the line between what women can do and can’t do exists but has not been set in stone.

    For the vast majority of women who might be effected by this resolution, that ambiguity is probably okay; they will continue to do what they’ve been doing, or even do more, withour receiving any “rabbinic” title or being referred to as being part of the “rabbinate.” That may not be fair (I don’t think it is), but we all know what President Kennedy said about fairness and life. The only real problem at this time is HIR which, as far as I’ve seen, is the only Orthodox insitution which refers to a woman employee as a “member of the clergy.” Quite frankly, I’m not sure what HIR will do, although I think I know what it should do, although that would require serious sacrifice by Maharat Hurwitz.

    So I agree with Joseph (no relation) that it’s a good start and with Joel rich that now history will move on, but I reserve the right to change my mind as the discussion continues. :-).
    ———-
    Anon 04/27/2010 03:39 PM in reply to Ira1
    The current HIR male assistant rabbi is a YCT graduate and, as such, not admitted to the RCA. I expect that HIR assistant rabbi positions will continue to be filled exclusively by YCT graduates for the foreseeable future. So, the particular type of conflict that you posit is unlikely. That said, it remains to be seen whether and how HIR and R. Weiss respond to the RCA.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 03:40 PM in reply to Shlomo 2
    Yoetzaot Halacha consult with Poskim. Although they are trained in the ins and outs of Hilcos Nidah, they do not render Psak Halacha any more than your neighborhood Daf Yomi Magid Shiur and function to enhance the observance of Hilcos Nidah, which has been marred by either Chumros or Kulos that were not necessary , a lack of awareness of the Halacha and the unfortunate but undeniable view that all of Hilcos Nidah either oppreses women or is the residue of ancient superstition or the equivalent.
    ———-
    Ira1 04/27/2010 03:41 PM in reply to Joseph Kaplan
    1 person liked this.
    What about Shearith Israel (Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue) that has Lynn Kaye as “Assistant Congregational Leader” that seems to me as Clergy.

    On the other hand, Lincoln Square Synagogue is careful to refer to Mrs. Hain as Mrs. Elana Stein Hain as as “Community Scholar” even though she is in the “Clergy” section of their website. http://www.lss.org/content.php?pg=Clergy&ID=96
    ———-
    Guest 04/27/2010 04:06 PM
    Elana Stein Hain serves as the official “rabbi” type person of the “Amsterdam Minyan” of LSS is Elana Stein Hain. I have been there numerous times and she is the one referred to for all she’alot of the minyan, she delivers the drasha every week, gives shiurim, counsels people, etc. She was placed in that position by the Center for the Jewish Future of Yeshiva University under the leadership of R. Kenny Brander.
    ———-
    Moshe Y 04/27/2010 04:21 PM
    Will the OU expel HIR now?
    ———-
    HAGTBG 04/27/2010 04:34 PM in reply to Guest
    What about what Ms. Hain does would require the RCA to “recognize” her as a member of the Orthodox rabbinate? If she is not seeking their recognition what is the problem?
    ———-
    charliehall 04/27/2010 04:48 PM in reply to Ira1
    HIR’s male assistant rabbi is also not accepted by the RCA because he earned his semichah from YCT. I’ve never heard anyone at HIR express any doubt as to whether he is in fact a rabbi.
    ———-
    charliehall 04/27/2010 04:51 PM in reply to Ira1
    Shearith Israel referred to their clergy as “ministers” until just a few years ago.
    ———-
    charliehall 04/27/2010 04:52 PM in reply to HAGTBG
    I don’t think Rabba Sara Hurwitz has sought RCA “recognition” either.
    ———-
    charliehall 04/27/2010 04:58 PM in reply to Moshe Y
    Why would it? The RCA and the OU are different entities.
    ———-
    charliehall 04/27/2010 05:01 PM in reply to mycroft
    While HIR does have some unusual minhagim, I don’t know what you are referring to here. Its minyanim follow halachah as much as any other O shuls.
    ———-
    Mike S. 04/27/2010 05:05 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    But traditional Jewish practice combines elements that are part of our Mesorah with elements that are external and changeable without concern. For example, the Avot and Shevatim were shepherds; by the time of the Mishah a shephard was passul l’eidut. And a whole range of practices have evolved in response to changing social and economic circumstances. Including women’s roles–compare the Mishna’s approval of women for shcita of both chullin and kodshim with the Rema’s prohibition. It takes Gedolei Torah to sort out which is which. And even Gedolei Torah have disagreed about which is which. For instance, Rav Hirsch said the exclusion of Jews from general culture was externally imposed and not desirable. Rav Kook said the same of the separation of Torah from Jewish nationhood. The bulk of Lithuanian Gedolim disagreed strongly with both.
    ———-
    charliehall 04/27/2010 05:05 PM in reply to S.
    We have had throughout our history lots of innovations that were adopted without support of the gedolim of the time.
    ———-
    MiMedinat HaYam 04/27/2010 06:10 PM in reply to charliehall
    they didnt have a rabbi minister till the late 19th century (maybe even later). they were ministers and / or sextons; not fully rabbis.
    ———-
    MiMedinat HaYam 04/27/2010 06:12 PM
    Comment removed.
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 06:38 PM in reply to Mike S.
    I don’t think that Chazal or any subsequent commentator ever claimed that being a shepherd was an indispendable aspect of the Midos of the Avos and Shevatim. As far as RSRH ZL is concerned, R Chaim Ozer ZL observed in a well known letter that RSRH had no need to seek the approval of the Lithuanian Gdolim in light of the unique challenges and precarious status of Torah Judaism in 19th Century Germany. As far as women serving as Shochtim, Psak based on the contents of a Mishnah is never the sole or even the guding factor in determining the maskana of any sugya.

    I don’t think that it is correct to assume that the Lithuanian Gdolim all vehemently opposed any and all exposure to general culture or the move towards Jewish nationhood. Yes, R Baruch Ber ZL viewed TIDE as a horaas shah and secular Zionism as well as RZ were opposed , espeically after the nascent Zionist movement became quite secular in orientation and the entire movement was seen as messianic , quixotic and unrealistic. There is no better portrayal of these issues than in Chamesh Drashos.
    ———-
    Shlomo 2 04/27/2010 06:53 PM in reply to MiMedinat HaYam
    What are you referring to?
    ———-
    Jon_Brooklyn 04/27/2010 07:54 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    They consult with poskim – except when it’s the poskim that consult with them.
    ———-
    joelrich 04/27/2010 09:07 PM
    The other RCA pronouncements are interesting-I hope they follow up on them
    KT
    ———-
    Mike S. 04/27/2010 09:25 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    Steve: I didn’t say all, I said most. And with all due respect for R. Chaim Ozer, Rav Hirsch said repeatedly that TIDE was a l’chatchilla for all times, and that the Torah only mode of Eastern Europe was the result of Antisemitic pressures from the Gentiles. Austritt was a response to the power of Reform in germany; TIDE was not.

    The gemara is also unambiguous as, for that matter, is the mechaber. The Rema is codifying a post talmudic minhag that arouse among Ashkenazi Jews
    ———-
    Mike S. 04/27/2010 09:40 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    Also: We have no records from the period when Jews stopped viewing shepherds positively, so who knows what rabbis said. Shmuel HaNavi anointed two as kings, so it must have been important somewhat beyond the period of the Avot.

    The Rav’s point in Chamesh Drashot was, however, to point out that while those who opposed Zionism in the early 1900’s (including R. Chaim) were logical, reasonable and had tradition on their side, history proved them wrong. I believe his phrase was “the Hashgoche pratis paskened against them.”
    ———-
    guest 04/27/2010 09:57 PM
    “They were referring to pulpit position rabbis, not teachers. And I think even there they are referring to using such a person as the primary posek. So that if Dr. Sarah Almoni teaches Talmud this decision is not relevant, if people are going to her for psak and she’s the communal leader it is.”

    I think they are referring to pulplit rabbis and not psak. I think they will have much less to say about what goes on outside of the shul framework.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/27/2010 10:50 PM in reply to Mike S.
    With respect to the Avos, it is manfestly clear that their lives and midos are of paramount interest, but how they earned their living is patently irrelevant to us. R Chaim Ozer wrote that RSRH had no reason to consult with the Litvishe Gdolim for his community. As far as Shechita is concerned, you are correct as to the Maskanas HaGemara and the Mchaber, but Ashkenazic Jewry has followed the Rema on this issue, and RYBS viewed the appointment of Shechita to be a form of Srarah.
    ———-
    Harold 04/27/2010 11:07 PM in reply to Steve Brizel
    Steve – when is the last time a non-Hasidic community “appointed” a shochet? I have no idea who schechts the meat I eat.
    ———-
    Y. Aharon 04/28/2010 12:48 AM
    I don’t see that the RCA resolutions really change anything. So, they won’t recognize semicha granted to women and won’t admit them into their rabbinic organization. In other words, such women will be treated the same as YCT musmachim. What else is new?
    ———-
    Jon_Brooklyn 04/28/2010 02:04 AM in reply to Y. Aharon
    I strongly agree. A lot of my friends are up in arms about this, and I personally can’t see what exactly the RCA is resolving to do except make clear that they won’t accept Mt. Hurwitz as a member.
    ———-
    David Tzohar 04/28/2010 06:56 AM
    It seems to me that the problem here is not “who is a (female) rabbi, but rather the eternal question on this blog
    Who is Orthodox? My answer is Who cares?? Do we want to encourage G-d fearing women who learn Torah l,shma to aspire to positions of authority in the religious community? I would like to think that women like Ms. Hurerwitz sees as a role model Nechama Leibovitz AH and not Chana Kehat HY.
    ———-
    hirhurim 04/28/2010 07:24 AM in reply to Y. Aharon
    1 person liked this.
    YCT musmakhim are not barred from the RCA. They may acquire another semikhah and join the organization, as some have.

    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
    ———-
    joel rich 04/28/2010 10:50 AM in reply to hirhurim
    Interesting – so which yeshivot get a single smicha pass into the RCA (I assume YU, who else?) and which don’t (and who decided based on what)?
    KT
    ———-
    hirhurim 04/28/2010 10:51 AM
    Joel: See here: http://www.rabbis.org/joinRCA.cfm
    ———-
    Nachum 04/28/2010 03:51 PM
    “I don’t think that Chazal or any subsequent commentator ever claimed that being a shepherd was an indispendable aspect of the Midos of the Avos and Shevatim.”

    R’ Meir Kahane did, in the beginning of Or HaRaayon. And he didn’t just make it up- a number of meforshim speak of how important being a shepherd was to the Avot, in developing their thoughts and leadership qualities. There’s a famous midrash about Moshe Rabbenu that deals with this.

    “As far as RSRH ZL is concerned, R Chaim Ozer ZL observed in a well known letter that RSRH had no need to seek the approval of the Lithuanian Gdolim in light of the unique challenges and precarious status of Torah Judaism in 19th Century Germany.”

    What a condescending thing to say! And how historically incorrect, alleging that Germany was a land of Shmad while Eastern Europe (and the US and Israel of today) aren’t.”

    “espeically after the nascent Zionist movement became quite secular in orientation and the entire movement was seen as messianic , quixotic and unrealistic.”

    Unrealistic? It produced a solid, independent country in less than fifty years. Come on.
    ———-
    MiMedinat HaYam 04/28/2010 06:52 PM
    i’m agreeing with you.

    the only reason that letter is “well known” is because the charedim use it to discredit TIDE as “horaat shaah”, which rav breuer specifically dosclaimed.

    the “the nascent Zionist movement became quite secular in orientation” because the (what became) charedim ignored it and / or refused to participate.
    ———-
    Shlomo 04/29/2010 02:25 AM
    Over time, even within the ancient period, Eretz Yisrael became more economically developed.

    In Sefer Shoftim (5:10, 10:4), riding a donkey is a sign of wealth and privilege. In Zechariah (9:9), riding a donkey is a sign of humility. In the roughly 600 years between those passages, standards of living rose greatly.

    Similarly, in bayit rishon, I presume many areas were not effectively farmed, and became grazing areas by default. Thus shepherds were common. Due to the concern they had to show for their animals, and perhaps their relatively isolation from potentially corrupt commerce, shepherding also cultivated moral traits. By the time of the mishna, however, all available land was farmed. A flock would have to eat from someone’s cultivated field, and thus – necessarily be engaging in theft.

    So Jewish opinion didn’t change, rather, the actions that shepherds engaged in changed.
    ———-
    Steve Brizel 04/29/2010 06:22 PM in reply to Nachum
    Nachum-Having not read R Kahane’s work, did he imply that shepherding was an ideal vocation? See R M Lichtenstein’s book on Moshe Rabbeinu’s development as a leader and how being in isolation as Yisro’s shepherd was exactly the wrong thing for Moshe Rabbeinu. It is easy to judge the views of Gdolim by 20/20 hindsight. While Eastern Europe had to deal with a range of “isms”, and ideologies, I think that German Orthodoxy, having gone through Emancipation with the rest of Western Europe was far more challenged than Eastern Europe. R Chaim Ozer , who was expressing his views on the subject, was hardly a stranger to these issues, IIRC, there is a teshuvah to the SE re stunning of meat during the Nazi reign.
    ———-
    Michael Makovi 05/03/2010 11:04 PM in reply to Moshe Y
    So if she does EVERYTHING a rabbi does but is called “Dr.” it’s okay? Doesn’t that directly contradict the RCA’s statement?
    ———-
    Michael Makovi 05/03/2010 11:05 PM in reply to Ira1
    Indeed. Why hasn’t the RCA condemned Shearith Israel, Ms. Kaye, Rabbi Hayyim Angel, etc. as heretics?
    ———-
    hirhurim 05/04/2010 06:04 AM in reply to Michael Makovi
    The RCA did not condemn any individuals or shuls. It made a policy statement.

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