Riverdale Synagogue Appoints Second Woman As Rabba

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hebrew institute of riverdaleRiverdale, NY – The deterioration of Orthodoxy by the Open Orthodox movement continues.

Rabba Sara Hurwitz of Riverdale’s Hebrew Institute (HIR) made headlines in 2010 as America’s first so-called Open Orthodox “Rabba.” Now, the 600-family Open Orthodox congregation in the Bronx has welcomed the newly-appointed Rabba Dr. Anat Sharbat, the second woman to assume the role in the congregation.

Rabba Sharbat, reports the Jewish Week, holds a doctorate in Talmud from Bar-Ilan University, and will be assuming all pastoral responsibilities, including counseling, lecturing, and presiding at lifecycle events.

The move, as pointed out by the Jewish Week, reneged on a prior agreement made between Avi Weiss, rabbi emeritus of HIR, and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), that Rabba Hurwitz would be the one and only “rabba.” Subsequently the term “maharat” was used.

Rabbi Weiss has since resigned from the RCA, reports the JW, citing the council’s refusal to accept graduates of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), a more liberal rabbinical school that he founded, into its ranks. The leadership at HIR stressed that the agreement made between Rabbi Weiss and the RCA “was made under extreme duress” and remains completely independent of the synagogue.

Unfortunately, Weiss’ shul, despite the rabba-related shenanigans, remains an Orthodox Union-affiliated synagogue.

The inroads made by Weiss’ Open Orthodox movement cannot be ignored. His Yeshivat Maharat, founded in 2009 as the first “Orthodox” institution to ordain women as full spiritual leaders, has successfully placed all of its 11 graduates at congregations around the United States, Canada and Israel. Though most assume the title Maharat, several others join Rabba Hurwitz in assuming the title Rabba.

{Gavriel Sitrit-Matzav.com Newscenter}

15 COMMENTS

  1. Why do we keep talking about them as if they are legitimate? I call myself rich doesn’t mean I have money in the bank. You want to counteract these lost souls go learn a Blatt gemora.

  2. The tznius issues associated with this, not to mention issues of basic halacha ,are overwhelming.
    How can they still be OU affiliated?

  3. …because the OU has been almost completely silent on this issue. In any case, the OU never really enforces any kind of halachic issues vis-a-vis its member synagogues. Young Israel is a bit more active on that front.

  4. ‘The move, as pointed out by the Jewish Week, reneged on a prior agreement made between Avi Weiss, rabbi emeritus of HIR, and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), that Rabba Hurwitz would be the one and only “rabba.” Subsequently the term “maharat” was used.’

    No, it didn’t. Rabbi Weiss retired three months ago and had nothing to do with this appointment, or this title.

  5. ” The tznius issues associated with this, not to mention issues of basic halacha”

    Only for Christians. It is in the Christian “bible” that you find a prohibition of women teaching or having authority over men. The truth is that anyone, male or female, when asked a question about halachah, is obligated to answer it to the best of his/her ability. The only thing that is different about these women compared to what women who have been teaching and answering questions about kashrut, Shabat, and taharat hamishpacha for millenia is that they are better trained to answer the questions and have passed a series of exams on the material. Their presence is a contribution.

  6. The deterioration is NOT due to so-called “open orthodoxy” but is in fact due to the failure of “mainstream” orthodoxy — specifically OU and, most especially, RCA — to effectively confront and deal with this heresy while it perhaps could have been contained. They have waffled and pussy-footed around. They did little more than finger wagging as this cancer grew. They have drawn “red lines” and done NOTHING as Weiss and his cabal have sneeringly defied them (kinda like Obama in Syria) time and again. No. Place the blame where it belongs: on those that did little to nothing as this disease spread.

  7. why are they still affiliated with the OU? what is this saying about the OU? where did they come up with the word ‘rabba’? does it have any previous meaning?

  8. Anat Sharbat also holds an earned doctorate in Talmud. Had the synagogue hired her into a similar position based on her PhD there would be no screams. It is highly ironic that because she choose to pursue a more traditional approach to learning, there is an outcry.

  9. This is very unfortunate. If this is the stock of the “wanting religion but hating rights of halacha”, we might just eventually expect that the cross is the fate of some of the human orders of this planned “open orthodoxy”.

    Sadly, I can only imagine that Planned Parenthood is their border guard and the fate of their good luck is Roe Vs. Wade for the Passover table.

    It is that sick.

  10. Charlie Hall, you are absolutely right! You know better than the RCA (which won’t accept Open Orthodox clergy), the Agudas Yisroel (which won’t accept OO clergy), and the Young Israel movement (which won’t accept OO clergy) PLUS you know better than the Gedolim associated with these groups. How do you avoid arrogantly presumptuous pronouncements with Torah scholarship such as yours?

  11. Charlie, the worst kind of sheker is not a mere misrepresentation of facts, but manipulation and twisting the entirety of a matter. You may bring all the cynical arguments, but the maskona is the same. So called “open orthodoxy” is just another movement trying to emulate the goyishe world. They’ll be feminists today, something else tomorrow – they’ll follow all the petty goyishe mishigas of the day; they’ll be left with nothing in the end of days.

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