Tag Archives: Women Rabbis

Rav Soloveitchik on Women Rabbis

R. Aryeh Frimer has published an essay on the position of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik regarding the ordination of women as rabbis (link). It is partially based on an essay in Shi’urei HaRav on Yoreh De’ah (available for purchase here: link), which is translated in this post (link). One reader e-mailed me that this essay is a vindication of my ...

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Posts on Women’s Ordination

Here are links to previous posts about the substance of women’s ordination: Converts and Positions of Communal Authority The Ordination of Women The Chief Rabbi on Women Rabbis When Values Collide: Women’s Ordination What is a Rabbi? What Is Rabbinic Ordination? A Brief History of Rabbinic Ordination Prof. Saul Lieberman on Women’s Ordination Three Approaches to Women’s Issues And here ...

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What Is Rabbinic Ordination? III

It is interesting to note that, according to R. Moshe Tendler’s recollection (link), when R. Samuel Belkin convinced the at-the-time young Rabbi Tendler to take the first Orthodox pulpit in Long Island, the President of Yeshiva University cited the Arukh Ha-Shulchan I quoted in an earlier post (link), who says that the main function of ordination today is to certify ...

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What Is Rabbinic Ordination? II

In a previous post, we discussed two views of rabbinic ordination: a memorial of Mosaic ordination, permission from one’s teacher (link). I’d like to explore further the latter approach. While this post does not affect the issue of women’s ordination, lest anyone think I’ve forgotten about the subject I will be including links to many past posts at the end ...

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Moetzes Condemns Ordination of Women

The following statement has been released by the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah of Agudath Israel of America: STATEMENT OF THE MOETZES GEDOLEI HATORAH OF AMERICA (10 Adar 5770) Rabbi Avi Weiss has conferred “semikha” upon a woman, has made her an Assistant Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale where she carries out certain traditional rabbinical functions, and has now given ...

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Prof. Saul Lieberman on Women’s Ordination

I have obtained permission to post the entire text of Prof. Saul Lieberman‘s responsum regarding women rabbis. The responsum in original Hebrew handwriting was first published in Tomeikh Ka-Halakhah vol. 1 (Union for Traditional Judaism, 1986), along with an English translation by Rabbi Wayne Allen. The following is the English translation: With the help of God, May He be blessed, ...

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A Brief History of Rabbinic Ordination

I. Permission The original ordination, passed down from Moshe to Yehoshua and continuing from teacher to student, was lost in the year 358 CE, according to R. Aryeh Kaplan (Handbook of Jewish Thought, 10:39 p. 209). However, even before that time, there was an alternate form of ordination. By law, ordination may only take place in the land of Israel. ...

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What Is Rabbinic Ordination?

I. Original Ordination Originally, ordination was passed down from teacher to student, beginning with Moshe and continuing throughout the generations. This original ordination had a number of rules, as described by the Rambam (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhos Sanhedrin ch. 4). One important rule is that ordination can be given for ruling on specific areas of Jewish law and need not be ...

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The Hard Reality of Women Orthodox Rabbis

I am in the middle of reading David Gelernter’s eloquent new book, Judaism: A Way of Being. From what I understand, the core of this book is in a series of essays the author published in Commentary a few years ago. One chapter addresses the following questions: Isn’t normative or Orthodox Judaism inherently anti-woman, insofar as its public ceremonies are ...

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When Values Collide: Women’s Ordination

An essay of mine was published on the First Things website (link). Please keep in mind that this was written for a general audience and that space limitations required brevity: The term “Modern Orthodox” is, in a sense, self-contradictory, which makes one wonder why it has been used for so long to describe a significant portion of the Jewish community. ...

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