The OU Ruling on Female Clergy, and Rebellion

(This article originally appeared on Arutz Sheva.) 

In a landmark proclamation, the Orthodox Union, which serves as the largest umbrella organization of Orthodox synagogues (including Modern Orthodox synagogues) in North America, has stated unequivocally that women may not serve in clergy roles.

OU leadership convened a team – the “Rabbinic Panel” – comprised of seven roshei yeshiva (deans) and rabbinic faculty from Yeshiva University, which issued a very detailed halakhic ruling on the subject, which the OU thereupon adopted as policy. Both the OU proclamation and the Rabbinic Panel’s ruling glowingly extolled the rich contributions that women make to Torah life, but the most notable portions of their statements articulated the disallowance of female clergy.

The Rabbinic Panel’s ruling was based on several factors, expressive of both halakhic precedent and formulated halakha, and was presented exhaustively, with sources and precise halakhic logic. The ruling drew extensively from the opinions of the late Torah luminary Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik of Yeshiva University, whose legacy has been challenged and at times misrepresented by those who spurn his traditional approach, yet have sought to use him to justify that which he rejected.

Here are some of the salient parts of the Rabbinic Panel’s ruling:

Our group believes that the combination of these two considerations, precedent and halakhic concerns, precludes female clergy. Given the status quo that we feel is meaningful and intentional, the burden of halakhic proof rests on the side of changing the established practice…

For the reasons stated above we believe that a woman should not be appointed to serve in a clergy position. 

This restriction applies both to the designation of a title for women that connotes the status of a clergy member, as well as to the appointment of women to perform clergy functions on a regular ongoing basis – even when not accompanied by a rabbinic-type title. The spectrum of functions appropriately considered as the role of clergy can be identified by duties generally expected from, and often reserved for, a synagogue rabbi. These common functions include, but are not limited to: the ongoing practice of ruling on a full-range of halakhic matters, officiating at religiously significant life-cycle events, (e.g. brit milah, baby naming, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, weddings and funerals), the regular practice of delivering sermons from the pulpit during services, presiding over or “leading services” at a minyan and formally serving as the synagogue’s primary religious mentor, teacher, and spiritual guide. 

While a synagogue rabbi performs myriad functions, it is these common functions most often performed by a rabbi that characterize his role as the synagogue’s formal religious leader. The gamut of rabbinical responsibilities has evolved over time, adapting to the needs of each generation and locale. Nonetheless, the designated role of spiritual synagogue leader can be identified through the prevailing rabbinic duties…

Significant differences exist between the clergy functions outlined above and the role of a yoetzet (on ritual purity, ed.). Yoatzot distinguish themselves from female clergy because, as their title implies, yoatzot advise, rather than issue novel rulings or decisions in disputed matters, and they do not perform other rabbinic functions. They specialize in a limited area of halakhah – an area that is most relevant to women and where tzniyut is essential – and function outside the context of prayer services. 

We do not have a consensus opinion with regard to all of the halakhic issues involved with the official position of yoetzet halakhah. We agree that yoatzot provide a valuable service, but some feel that, with regard to normative wide-spread community practice, halakhic and meta-halakhic concerns outweigh the benefits. 

In light of all of the above-referenced considerations, the utilization of yoatzot halakhah should continue to be evaluated carefully by poskim and communities alike. Under all circumstances, a yoetzet halakhah should only be employed with the approval of the synagogue’s or community’s rabbis, and should continue to work in close consultation with the local rabbi(s). 

Although the OU proclamation and Rabbinic Panel ruling represent a watershed moment for the OU, as no Orthodox synagogue organization has heretofore tackled this issue, the OU proclamation and Rabbinic Panel ruling reaffirm the clear position of all senior halakhic authorities that has been on record for many years.

The Rabbinical Council of America, based on the rulings of its halakhic decisors (Rabbis Aharon Lichtenstein zt”l, Hershel Schachter, Gedalia Dov Schwartz and Mordechai Willig), already issued three resolutions barring the ordination of women as rabbis, regardless of the title used. The first RCA statement on the subject goes back to 2010. All other senior rabbinic sages who addressed the issue have ruled likewise. Please see here for a comprehensive list of these rulings, with links to them as well.

The OU proclamation and the ruling of the Rabbinic Panel serve to reject the ordination programs of Yeshivat Maharat and Beit Midrash Har’el, and the Israeli “Morat Hora’ah” (Halakhic Decisor) program which trains women for clergy functions and, as was shown here, is in fact rabbinic in formal description. (Please also see here, a public statement on the plan to cultivate female rabbinic judges.)

The OU proclamation and the ruling of the Rabbinic Panel have not been received well among those who ordain, hire and support female clergy and yet identify themselves as Orthodox.

Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), which is allied with the Open Orthodox movement, condemned the OU proclamation and Rabbinic Panel, writing:

JOFA is dismayed by the OU’s decision to squander the opportunity to engage in the rich tradition of mahloket l’shem shamayim, conflict for the sake of heaven…This statement fails to acknowledge the vast number of Modern Orthodox Jews and communities throughout America and Israel that already have female leadership. Orthodox Judaism is diverse in practice, religious outlook, and day to day milieu. While we appreciate that an halakhic authority might conclude that women clergy are forboden, others have arrived at different conclusions. During a time of stark division, when unity could not be more necessary, it remains unclear why OU would choose to focus on such a divisive issue.   

The executive director of JOFA also remarked:

There are various ways of practicing Judaism, halachic Orthodox Judaism. We are disappointed, however, that the OU is attempting to squash that healthy debate and impose their [religious ruling] on hundreds of synagogues, thus centralizing power… and not giving autonomy to communities’ lay and professional leaders.

Another Open Orthodox rabbi, Shmuel Herzfeld, whose congregation has female clergy on staff, rebuffed the OU’s ruling and stated:

The OU should stick to tuna fish.

Open Orthodox Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of Los Angeles, whose congregation likewise has female clergy on staff, was eminently clear in his rejection of the OU’s position:

This Shabbat morning, with God’s help, Rabbanit Alissa Thomas-Newborn will be offering the drasha at B’nai David – Judea, the Orthodox shul of which I am the senior rabbi. As I am presently on a study trip in Israel, this is not really news. Rabbanit Alissa is the only other member of our clergy. The news is that this is the first time that her words of Torah will be not only inspiring, but they will also be of historic importance. Though not intended or designed as such, they will constitute an act of sacred civil disobedience…

My contention is simply that imposing one perspective on all of its member synagogues, when a Halakhicly valid alternative exists, is divisive, counter-productive, and just plain contrary to the OU’s own values of supporting Torah and Mitzvot. It constitutes a leadership error of historic proportions.

Our Orthodox synagogue, along with the several others who proudly have women on their clergy staff, will obviously not be accepting the new OU policy. I do not know what action the Orthodox Union will take against us. But I do know that we will be strong, and that we will be resolute, because that’s what you do when you are right.

Another Open Orthodox leader complained:

The Orthodox Union is creating division when it need not exist and driving a wedge between Jew and Jew for no reason other than the incessant, vocal and fierce advocacy of a small group of activists who are intent on manipulating our communal organizations to divide for the sake of ideological purity.

What the above Open Orthodox leaders fail to acknowledge is that the most preeminent halakhic authorities have unanimously enjoined the concept of female clergy from the start, well before Open Orthodoxy began to ordain women rabbis. The above claims that the OU is imposing its perspective on others and is being divisive are glaringly inaccurate and horribly misleading, for the Open Orthodox leaders who introduced and supported the ordination of women rabbis did so knowing that the practice had already been unanimously barred by the most senior and authoritative halakhic decisors and deemed by them to be in clear contravention of Halakha. When one is aware that something is prohibited, and he proceeds to do that thing anyway, and he then complains that his action is not being accepted, the fault lies squarely upon him. Open Orthodoxy consciously and deliberately innovated a very controversial, prohibited idea, and now complains that the Orthodox establishment has rejected it. I hate to be so blunt, but this is the height of hypocrisy.

Sadly, Open Orthodoxy has unilaterally parted with normative Orthodoxy on numerous foundational principles of Torah practice, such as Open Orthodoxy considering the elimination of Kiddushin (halakhic marriage), supporting gay marriage and deleting required blessings from the daily prayers. Open Orthodoxy’s divisive practice of ordaining women for the rabbinate should come as no surprise and must be seen in the context of a movement that has broadly separated itself from the core of tradition, setting itself up as a wholly new denomination. A movement that has voluntarily parted paths with normative Orthodoxy and Halakha in so many ways has no right to complain when the Orthodox establishment rejects its radical innovations. It is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Halakha is predicated upon following the directives and guidance of the generation’s foremost rabbinic authorities. Vigilante Judaism – and that’s exactly what is being promoted by those attacking the OU’s ruling – is inconsistent with the deference to the generation’s most distinguished Torah experts that forms the basis of all stripes of authentic Orthodoxy.

The OU has followed traditional and halakhically required protocol when dealing with challenges and innovations to Torah practice, by consulting with a world-renowned team of halakhic authorities, and committing to following the decision that would be rendered.

This is what Torah Judaism is all about.

You may also like...

66 Responses

  1. mb says:

    There will be more and Orthodox women Rabbis. This directive might slow it down, but when there’s no real halachic prohibition, nothing will stop the train. It left the station a long time ago. A few centuries ago women were not permitted to leave their homes, with occasional exceptions.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    R Gordimer has hit the proverbial home run in summarizing the responsum and in setting forth the serious and numerous departures from normative galactic standards by JOFA its leaders supporters and apologists. If you want to read reactions to the responsum that are hysterical as the mainstream medias reaction to anything proposed by Trump read the reactions on the website of the Jewish Week which has been leading the charge for OO for years. Like it or not the topics discussed at the JOFA conference and the forums mentioned there illustrate and demonstrate a hostility to conventional marriage and the promotion of lifestyles that are grossly incompatible with building a BAYIS NEEMAN BYISRAEL Obviously the editor of the Jewish Week ignored the fact that the OU ran a full day of shiurim at Citifield which was attended by 1500 people and highlighted the feminist freak show otherwise k own as JOFA solely because he has been pushing the YCT/JOFA agenda for years.

  3. Noch a chochom says:

    Alissa Thomas-Newborn”


    I wonder why Kanefsky could not find an “rabbinic” “associate” who has even one Jewish name amongst her many hyphenated names?

    • Reb Yid says:

      Does that mean that other non-Jewish names like Esther are also verboten for you?

      Oh, and wake up and smell the coffee.  More and more couples, even Orthodox ones, have hyphenated names.  In other cases, each spouse retains his or her last name.  Why should the wife have her family’s name be wiped out forever?  Shouldn’t she at least have a say in the matter?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        When a man and woman get married they merge their identities to start a new world called a family and the role of of the wife is to assume a new identity in which she is prohibited from having any intimate relationship other than with her husband. A hyphenated name send the wrong message. I know of many prominent rabbinic who will not officiate at a wedding where the wife will have a hyphenated last name for that reason.

      • Reb Yid says:

        and the role of of the wife is to assume a new identity in which she is prohibited from having any intimate relationship other than with her husband

        Unless I’m missing something, the husband is also prohibited from having any hanky panky with anyone other than his spouse, too.

        While I fully respect you for living your life as you choose it (and your right to live this way should remain fully protected), this does not entitle you in any way to disparage or critique others as being any less “Jewish”.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        If a husband acts improperly it is certainly inappropriate. I think that a t conduct or philosophy that is contrary to the goal of a bayis neeman BYisrael should be viewed as such and subject to critical scrutiny

      • Zorach says:

        The husband’s prohibition was not created by this marriage. His prohibition has not been changed

      • dr.bill says:

        and i know a famous posek who said he would pasel a geirut if the officiating rabbi wears a blue shirt.

        a close relative had surgery and the (well known) surgeon was a frum women.  should she assume her husband’s name where everyone knows her by her maiden name?  I think that may make her harder to identify and constitute a remote chance of pikuach nefesh.  many a professional woman, proud of their accomplishment, may feel that marriage ought not impact her association to what she attributes value.  you may see a black and white world; were it only that simple. fortunately our tradition strongly disagrees.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Irrelevant to the discussion. I stand by my discussion as to the purpose of marriage and the principles underlying Chupah v Kiddudhin.think about the nusach habracha the next time that you are at a chasunah

      • dr.bill says:

        i do not have to wait.  there are various shittot rishonim on the nature of the berachot at a wedding: mitzvah, shevach ve’hodaah, ha’nehenin, and i seem to recall one more.  To which berachah and shittah are you referring? To birchat Eirusin?  As usual, I have no idea what ideas you have implanted into our traditions.

        and as the master of non sequitur, what you see as irrelevant probably is not.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I am referring to the standard by each habracha so chupah Kiddushin that is recited at every chasuna as opposed to various shiitos Rishonim. Don’t dodge the issue by resorting to and referring to various shift is a d kisvei had that are interesting but are not part of the standard nusach habracha.

      • dr.bill says:

        i apologize, but have not a clue about what you are talking!  frankly, if anyone thinks that was clear, please explain cogently and i will happily donate to my favorite charity in your honor.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Translate to yourself the nusach habracha of the the standard bracha that is recited at every chasun that ends Mkadesh Es Amo Al Yidei Chupah vKiddushin. That bracha, as opposed to the  variant shittos in Rishonim that you mentioned, states that Chupah v Kiddushinn creates a relationship where the Chasan and Kalah are prohibitted to all except themselves. The shevach vhoddaah is that we thank HaShem for giving us the means of chupah and kiddushin to create a marriage. On session at JOFA was devoted to “creatung” means of a relationship without the exclusive means of Chupah v Kiddushin,

      • dr.bill says:

        sadly, you misread.  there are no rishonim that dispute that the single bracha on eirusin is a birchat hamitzvah without much/any hashkafic focus like other birchot hamitzvah.  the machloket revolves around the berachot of nisuim, the sheva brachot, who have a long history of varying rabbinic and academic interpretation.  i have not heard of any feminist discomfort with the nusach of these brachot.

      • Tal Benschar says:

        there are no rishonim that dispute that the single bracha on eirusin is a birchat hamitzvah without much/any hashkafic focus like other birchot hamitzvah.

        Completely false.  The Rambam holds that it is a birchas ha mitzvah, but the Rosh and the Ran both hold it is a birchas hodaah, mainly based on the extra verbiage not normally present in a birchas ha mitzvah.  In fact, many Rishonim had a minhag to recite it after the act of kiddushin  (see the Raavad who brings down such a minhag), which the Rambam holds is a beracha levatala.  I happen to know this because I spoke about it at my chassan’t tisch before my wedding.

        The nusach ha beracha clearly states that an important part of kedushas yisroel is the institution of chuppah and kiddushin.  The Rambam at the beginning of Hilchos Ishus elaborates on this and contrasts it to the state of marriage prior to mattan Torah.

        Any attempt to replace chuppah v’kiddushin with some faux “marriage” that meets the zeitgeist would be a grave breach of kedushas yisroel.  Not to mention leading to issurei d’Oraysah according to several Rishonim.


      • dr.bill says:

        you are correct.  achronim even offer the possibility that is a birchat ha’neinin.  nonetheless, details discussing practice would imply acceptance of birchat eirusin as a birchat hamitzvah.


      • Dr. E says:


        And would those same prominent Rabbonim officiate at a wedding without the RCA Prenup?

      • Steve Brizel says:

        All of the RY signed a letter stating that all rabbonim should use the RCA pre nup.HS is on record as saying that if a potential chasan refuses to consider signing a pre nup that is a good reason to not profess further with the shidduch



      • Dr. E says:

        In my question, I was referring to the aforementioned Rabbonim (plural) whom you said would not officiate at a wedding where the Kallah would have a hyphenated last name.  Would those Rabbonim officiate at a wedding without the RCA Prenup?  (My question is based on the constructs of Ikkar and Tafel.)

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Look at the commentaries on why Esther did not reveal her name. Many men and women have Yiddish names. It is only quite recently that many of us proudly have children and grandchildren with names that you can find in Tanach and Shas.that’s because we believe that a Jewish name is and has always been part of maintaining a Jewish identity in Galus

      • dr.bill says:

        shas contains greek, roman and persian names.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Yes, Rabbeinu Peter was one of the Baalei HaTosfos. Name one Tanna or Amora who has a Greek, Roman or Persiann name, as opposed to a name in Lashon Kodesh-Biblical or Mishnaic Hebrew or Aramaic.

      • dr.bill says:

        let’s see – tarfon, dosa, sumchus, avtalyon, teradyon, etc. etc.  the names of numerous amoraim have debated origin.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        With respect to our discussion as to the nature and meaning of Burk as Erusin I rest my case on Tals response and your own admission to Tal as to the correctness of his response.

      • dr.bill says:

        tal is irrelevant to your claim and you aresponding to my list of non-jewish names!!  admitting you are dead wrong is good for the soul.

    • dr.bill says:

      Alissa has strong jewish roots – probably joy. Thomas may derive from Teomim. Newborn is likely not of Hebrew origin.

    • Reb Yid says:

      To Mr Brizel:

      Take your own medicine before lashing out at others:
      Origin of the name Steven:
      From the Latin Stephanus, which is from the Greek Stephanos, a name derived from stephanos (a crown, a garland). The name is borne in the Bible by St Stephen, one of the seven chosen to assist the apostles, and the first Christian martyr. Var: Stefan, Stefen, Stefon, Stephan, Stephon, Stevan, Steven, Stevon. Short: Steve.

      • mycroft says:

        Unfair-Steve I assume like all of us generally did not choose his name. Steve and I have argued often in the blogosphere- but I know of no one who is a more genuine believer in what he says. He is consistent in his actions and beliefs

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I was named after my grandfather  ZL whose name was Sigmund. IIRC, an acid test in in my generation was that if your name was Steven, it was a sign of being Jewish , as opposed to Stephen.

      • Reb Yid says:

        Of course, since names seem to be so important to you about an individual’s value as a Jew, you could have opted to change your name like at least one of your CC colleagues.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        My children and Kein Yirbu my grandchildren all  havee names that  are rooted in Tanach.

  4. dr.bill says:

    so here is what will happen.  1) some women will study talmud and halakha in an academic environment.  2) others will opt for a more traditional beit midrash, but their concentration on biblical texts will raise yet more challenges to fundamentalist beliefs.  3) in israel, women will continue to occupy positions where they perform rabbinic functions and no one will be able to effectively counter; the numerous groups to their right so mired in their own fight for hegemony, they will be unable to differentiate between anything to their left.  4) women currently performing so-called rabbinic function in a few (non OO) OU shuls will make at most cosmetic changes;  their number and scope will grow.  in some number of years, this will resemble the outcry that bat-mitzvot caused 50 years ago. As was said of Humpty Dumpty -all the RY and all their associates cannot put women in their place again.

    i am not a prophet, but i hope to live long enough to see that with many twists and turns, my predictions are directionally correct.

    • Reb Yid says:

      Exactly.  And my shul I’m sure at some point, among many, will start asking itself why it should support the OU and will no longer support it.  Our congregation has Congregational Interns (female) who add tremendous value to the community.  They give inspiring sermons from the bimah, divrei torah at Chavurot, present intensive seminar-style talks on Jewish religious texts and themes, work wonderfully with a class of Bat Mitzvah girls and are praised by all who come into contact with them.

      I am so very proud of Yosef Kanefsky who was my rav when I lived in LA.  There is no finer rabbi or human being than he.  He speaks truth to power, fearlessly, all while being an incredible mensch.

      Dr. Bill is right.  Needless to say, this was the subject of note at this week’s Shabbat kiddush.  We have people in our community who work at, or work with, folks at NCSY and OU and are frankly puzzled.  They got very troubling reports from many OU rabbis out in the field as well as from some of the JLICs who are in no way on board with any of this.  These 7 rabbis certainly don’t speak to anywhere near the full spectrum of the OU world; they simply don’t know it as they’re not a part of it.  I doubt if any of them or their families have ever sat down to a meal or heard any talks from any current or prospective Maharats, Rabbas, or Congregational interns.

      It’s a lot easy to bash the “other” when it remains just that.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I have seen congregational interms in action. IMO, their role is a feminist based intrusion on the role of a rav as mora dasrah for all of the members of his shul.

      • dr.bill says:

        what you “have seen” is as relevant as…  what is relevant is what the congregants and their morah de’asrah are experiencing.  if they agreed with you, which i assume they do not, they would remedy the situation.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        I think that my POV is as relevant if not more so than any person whose approach to life is driven by not offending the contemporary Zeitgeist

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The responsibility of great Talmidei Chachamim in every generation is to lead by dint of their modus tzidkus and yashrus .even if you never learned a passuk in Chumash or a blatt Gemara they are your spiritual leaders.if you read the resolution and RHSs original essay about WPGs it is obvious that the authors recognized the danger posed by radical feminist egalitarianism to the conventional family as a clear and present danger as opposed to increased women’s education and fulfilling the many Mitzvos applicable to men and women while not assuming a burden that was solely imposed on men because of men lacked the binah yeserah of women.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Read the biographies of Rebbitzen Kanievsky and Rebbitzen Henny Machlis . I can assure you that their lives were in no way deprived because they neither were a female rabbi or congregationak intern.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Obviously not every woman could or should be a Rebbitzen Kanievsky or Machlis. However any Jewish woman can and should strive to emulate least one of the many midos tovos of either or both of these remarkable women who certainly were not feminists

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Halevai that the women depicted in your post so meet their so if raise families of Yirei Shamayim and fulfil those Mitzvos incumbent on women rather than engaging in what you described activities which most women regardless of their hashkafic orientation regard either as bitul zman or worse. Women seeking fulfillment by engaging in roles reserved for men and vice versa were seen as part of the oppression of the Jewish people in Egypt.looking forward for a class in challah baking at the next JOFA conference

      • Reb Yid says:

        Women seeking fulfillment by engaging in roles reserved for men and vice versa were seen as part of the oppression of the Jewish people in Egypt

        Take a trip to Touro College–you’ll see that the administration is making a big push to attract more and more males for their physical therapy programs (where I’ve taught).  These are mostly frum students, by the way–there are jobs to be had for anyone who wants to break into this pretty much “traditionally” female occupational niche.  And some male students are, in fact, making headway.

    • Steve Brizel says:

      If you like freak shows of a feminist origin where women waste their time and Divinely given abiilities you can buy read and enjoy anything written by any of of the women that you mentioned.the real question that you continually evade is why any woman would want to do so rather than building a Bayis Newman BYisrael. Denying that feminism has always and remains hostile to the conventional family which is the building block of Jewish continuity does not mean that one can wave away such fa ts with wishful thinking about boring tomes written by women

      • Reb Yid says:

        If the shaitl wearing Morateinu Thomas-Newborn is a “freak show” to you, that’s because you are quick to dismiss her and her cohort out of sheer ignorance.  In her case, she happens not to participate in partnership minyanim either.  Although others do.  And that diversity, which is also typical of Chovevei rabbis, is what you just can’t handle.

        If I were you, I’d be much more concerned about the actual documented  moral improprieties of male rabbis, enabled by [male] rabbinical courts or bodies that at minimum turn a blind eye to this, than baseless speculations of what is contained in the hearts of Jewish females assuming more active roles in Orthodox congregations.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Look at the agenda of JOFA-I stand by my position that the agenda was a freak show,.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        The persons you alluded to are out of their jobs and know are part off the kolel hachashudim. What relevance does that have to this discussion?

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    The devotion of sessions to “alternatives to Kiddushin gay marriage single parenthood and the LGBT agenda are all indicia that JOFA its advocates and supporters habe adopted in wholesale the view that the Zeitgest of the time must supersede Halacha whenever and wherever there is a conflict. The Jewish Week should be ashamed of providing a forum for advocates of an agenda that is well beyond the boundaries of Halacha but masks itself as committed to the same

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Irrelevant to the subject at hand. If a man wants to be a PT and Touro can help great. Not at an related to whether a woman should assume a position exclusively meant for men as per Mesorah

      • YbhM says:

        >  a position exclusively meant for men as per Mesorah

        We need to educate people as to the societal and teleological vision that underlies this mesorah.

      • Reb Yid says:

        Right.  Tell that to Sarah Schenirer.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Sarah Schnenier ZL confered with R Cahim Ozer, the CC and the Gerer Rebbe Zicronam Livracha who concurred with the need for formal women’s education. That  has no comparison to what  the feminists and their allies and supporters are pushing today as displayed at JOFA and in other venues

      • Reb Yid says:

        The point being that mesorah has its definite limits.  And no-one needed to point to these rebbeim before introducing innovations like the Bat Mitzvah.  Or, in more and more communities, having female Presidents of their shuls (YI and to the right still don’t do this, but far more common elsewhere–not just in “OO).

        Just look at that OU document again–you’ll see all kinds of advances females have made within the Orthodox synagogue over the past 20-30 years….the OU is signing off on most of them and even encouraging them!  Based on mesorah alone none of them would have ever come to fruition.

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Sarah Schneider sought and obtained the approval of the CC R Chaim Ozer and the Gerer Rebbe which JOFA and its allies have never done in pushing their agenda

  6. Shades of Gray says:

    From the linked article (“Alternatives to kiddushin”):

    “What about “Kiddushin,” the talmudic tractate on the topic? “So many tractates we have are already theoretical,” Ms. Koren said, pointing to talmudic discussions of Temple sacrifice.”

    Compare with   Rabbi Soloveitchik on  afkinu rabbanan l’kidushin minei:

    “[ribono shel olam], what are you, out to destroy all of it?  I will be relieved of two masechtos; I will not have to say shiurim on Gitin and Kidushin, and then Yevamos as well.”

  7. YbhM says:

    In grad school we looked at a book called “eleh divrei ha-brit” which included detailed halakhic arguments against the practices being instituted by the 17th century German reform movement.

    As one can imagine, the author of the book simply “didn’t get” the reform movement.  In the same manner, the statements of the OU and the psaks of the poskim obviously make little impact on the people who were already inclined in the OO direction on this topic.

    Really this is a case where the dispute about halacha is really downstream from the problems in the culture.  There are unfortunately too many nominally orthodox Jews who unconsciously accept the assumptions and practices of the contemporary left (and of course are unwilling to even subject these to enunciation – let alone analysis).  This will eventually turn out to be a passing fad once the general culture changes again.

    • Reb Yid says:

      On the contrary.  If anything, “fads” like Bat Mitzvah are even more popular today and have made serious inroads into most segments of the Orthodox world.  I have zero doubt that more women in the next generation will be learning Talmud than in previous generations, and that more and more Orthodox congregations across most of the spectrum will incorporate females in their staffs in a variety of educational, pastoral and rabbinic roles.

      • Rafael Qunoaface says:

        In my circles, Bas Mitzvoh celebrations are very small and low-key, reflecting the fact that these modern celebrations were innovations of non-Orthodoxy. So to say they are “more popular” doesn’t make it so, or such popularity is confined to certain populations.

      • Reb Yid says:

        What I meant was more widespread. It certainly isn’t out of the ordinary even for a centrist O family to commemorate this milestone in some fashion.   And it certainly would not suggest any notion that this is some radical feminist innovation at work

        agree with you on keeping it low key. We did that for bar mitzvahs too. Our boys wanted no part of the sturm oon drang

      • mycroft says:

        My cousins had bat mitzvahs at Breuers more than 55 years ago!!!

      • Steve Brizel says:

        Our daughters had Bas mitzvahs also. The scope of such celebration varies from community to community and family to family solely because the same has no impact on any aspect of hashkafa or halacha and are never considered anywhere as important or a substitute for walking down the aisle as a kallahd at ones chasunah

    • Steve Brizel says:

      Excellent point. Once you allow acceptance of the feminist LGBT agenda to dictate your view to gender based differences in Halacha minhagim and inappropriate relationships and orientations you might as well ignore the simple meaning of Acharei mos and Kedoshim

  8. Steve Brizel says:

    For those interested, even if in some way you have swallowed the Jonestown kool aid known as radical egalitarian feminism in some way, take a look at the attached link.

  9. Dave says:

    thanks again to R Gordimer for excellent clarity on this issue.

    keep up the good work

  10. Steve Brizel says:

    Dr. Bill-you left no place for a response about Birkas Erusin after Tals response and your comment thereafter so I commented on the same where you invited a reply on the issue of Jewish names to which Mycroft and others ably and thoroughly responded to your observations

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This