Orthodox Shul in NJ Revealed as Destination of Female ‘Rabbi’

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maharatLast week, Matzav.com reported that the first graduate of Avi Weiss’ Yeshivat Maharat to take the title “rabbi” had been hired by an unnamed American Orthodox shul. At the time, Lila Kagedan, who received “semichah” this past summer at Yeshivat Maharat, said that she was recruited to join the staff of a shul, but Kagedan refused to name the shul.

The shul has now confirmed the hire. Mount Freedom Jewish Center, in Randolph, New Jersey, announced in a news release Monday that Kagedan, a native of Canada, is joining its “spiritual leadership team.” The news release did not use the word “rabbi,” instead referring to Kagedan as a “Yeshivat Maharat graduate.”

On its website, Mount Freedom Jewish Center describes itself as “Open Orthodox,” though it was previously viewed as an Orthodox shul.

Kagedan will be tasked with “teach[ing] Torah, encourage[ing] greater love and celebration of mitzvoth” and she will be asked “to provide learning opportunities for adults and children, connect with young families in and around the community and participate in lifecycle and pastoral needs alongside Rabbi Menashe East,” the shul’s website says.

Matzav.com has continually reported on the havoc being wreaked by Avi Weiss and his Open Orthodox movement, and particularly Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and Yeshivat Maharat, which ordains women in violation of the p’sak of every prominent rov and posek.

Despite most female Orthodox “clergy” from Yeshivat Maharat taking the title of “maharat,” Kagedan is the first graduate to call herself a rabbi. Yeshivat Maharat has thus far ordained about 11 students, with six serving in Orthodox shuls in North America.

Hashem yishmireinu.

{Gavriel Sitrit-Matzav.com Newscenter}

16 COMMENTS

  1. Now what ? What are you replacing it with ? Are you going to give a shiur, are you going to help with a minyan. are you building a mikvah ?

  2. Perhaps it should be pointed out that Mount Freedom, while traditionally an Orthodox shul, is struggling to hold on to its Orthodoxy.

    (In other words, it is trying to stay Orthodox, despite the fact that it does not have a great number of members or potential members within walking distance.)

    This move should be seen in that light.

    Whether it would be better to try and stay as broadly Orthodox as possible or to instead throw in the towel by either closing the shul or calling themselves Traditional, allowing for a complete abandonment of halachic practice, is an interesting question, perhaps not as simple as some might think.

  3. Please dont insult ‘Orthodox”. When you will have a Temple calling itself ‘first orthodox condoning mechallel Shabbos shul’ will it be Orthodox? The rah-byes of this institution are koifer in ukrei emuna eg’torah min hashumayin moshe mipi hagvurah and a lot more and more. Read their essays on their site

  4. This is not the typical orthodox shul. This shul allows family style seating and other practices that most orthodox shuls (and normative halacha) do not allow. See the weblink and content quoted below from the shul website.

    http://mtfjc.org/services/

    “Owing to our openness, we provide sacred space for family seating for families who prefer to sit together.”

    “Annually, MFJC supports a Women’s Simchat Torah Torah reading, community Kabbalat Shabbat services led by women for everyone, and leading the reading of the book of Esther on Purim. And while we are proud of the initiatives that women have taken in our shul, more can still be done…”

    “During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, seating is expanded into the synagogue social hall to accommodate the larger number of attendees. The main sanctuary is reserved for separate seating and the social hall is for “family seating.” During High Holidays, the bimah is moved from the front of the sanctuary to the center of both rooms to provide all of our attendees access to the services and the Torah reading.”

  5. This is not the typical orthodox shul. This shul allows family style seating and other practices that most orthodox shuls do not allow. See the shul weblink and content quoted below from the shul website.

    “Owing to our openness, we provide sacred space for family seating for families who prefer to sit together.”

    “Annually, MFJC supports a Women’s Simchat Torah Torah reading, community Kabbalat Shabbat services led by women for everyone, and leading the reading of the book of Esther on Purim. And while we are proud of the initiatives that women have taken in our shul, more can still be done…”

    “During Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, seating is expanded into the synagogue social hall to accommodate the larger number of attendees. The main sanctuary is reserved for separate seating and the social hall is for “family seating.” During High Holidays, the bimah is moved from the front of the sanctuary to the center of both rooms to provide all of our attendees access to the services and the Torah reading.”

  6. It is obviously not an orthodox shul as an orthodox shul by its very connotation follows normative halacha and mesorah. It is obviously conservative or reform and is just calling itself Orthodox for whatever reason. Labels really don’t matter. It’s their practices that truly define who they are and Hashem doesn’t care about labels, only what we actually do. We can call ourselves Orthodox all we want but if we don’t keep shabbos or daven three times a day, then that’s how we will be seen in shamayim. They are calling themselves an Orthodox synagogue but they will only be seen for what they do, not for what they call themselves.

  7. To commentators Wolf and Joseph:
    FYI, prior to the past generation, MOST Orthodox shuls outside of large metropolitan areas somewhat condoned chillul Shabbos, turning a blind eye to members’ driving there and Shabbos. They also had mixed dancing at their shul dinners.

    Today, out of town synagogues compete with CHABAD minyanim, which are Orthodox and where a large percent of their Shabbos attendees drive to get there. Note that Mount Freedom is very close to a Chabad stronghold.

    I am not offering an opinion on what this shul should do, but some perspective and context might be a good idea before making sweeping condemnations.

  8. This ‘freedom’ temple describes itself as ‘OpenOrthodox’ a movement which was put out of membership of shomrei torah . ‘ v’hagivonim lo b’klall yisroel’ (spiritually)

  9. If the place has family mixed seating, it is not orthodox. If this lady is just going to teach women and children, then she is not much different than some Rebbetzins who do that. But if she is doing other things, like reading the Torah or officoating ceremonies, she is not holding to Torah standards. It would be a good idea if Rabbis in the US. Israel, and other places would write a contract with guidelines that shuls have to folllow to be called orthodox and included in the contract should be guidelines of what has to be taught for conversion.

  10. Question: which of her listed activities is even remotely questionable by Halacha? She is not laining, davening for the amid, sitting on a Beis Din

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