Home News Breaking News Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Threatens To Halt Semicha Program If Forced To Train...

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate Threatens To Halt Semicha Program If Forced To Train Women

9

Israel’s Chief Rabbinate has threatened to halt the ordainment of new rabbis if the country’s High Court of Justice forces it to grant rabbinical training to women.

The rabbinate’s statement last week followed a petition by women scholars seeking to be ordained as rabbis. In response to the petition, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said that the state was in favor of the move, but that “the current circumstances, in which the Chief Rabbinate handles the [ordainment] process, place legal hurdles” in the way.

The state, he said, will work to establish an alternative set of rabbinical exams that will be open to women.

The rabbinate, however, rejected the idea outright, saying there is “no place” for female rabbis in Judaism.

 

It further warned that “if there is a legal directive that would require us to ordain women as rabbis in violation of [Jewish law], the rabbinical ordination system as a whole will cease its operations until the proper legislation regulating this issue is in place.”

The Chief Rabbinate is an ultra-Orthodox entity recognized by law as the supreme rabbinic authority for Judaism in Israel. The Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism are not recognized by the ultra-Orthodox establishment.

Orthodox Jews are adamantly opposed to allowing women to serve as rabbis, arguing that it is a violation of Jewish law.

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef, who presides over the rabbinate, has reportedly instructed the relevant professional bodies within the establishment to mount every possible objection to the move.

The petition, filed by the ITIM Jewish Advocacy Center, the Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of Women’s Status at Bar Ilan University and the Kolech Center for Women’s Leadership, said that by excluding women from the rabbinical training process, the rabbinate was promoting discriminatory practices.

“This reality creates a professional barrier within various religious positions as well as in the public sector, where being ordained as a rabbi meets various employment criteria,” the petition said.

The High Court of Justice is set to hear the petition later this month. Ahead of the hearing, the State Attorney’s Office has set up meetings with officials in the rabbinate, the education, religious services, and higher and secondary education ministries, as well as the Civil Service Commission, in an effort to formulate a rabbinical training path catering to women.

ITIM Founder Rabbi Shaul Farber told Israel Hayom, “Reality speaks for itself. More and more scholarly women are taking on halachic leadership roles—this is a great boon to the Torah world, which is becoming richer for the faithful public. The state’s response gives hope to change this absurdity, wherein it is the Chief Rabbinate in Israel that seeks to prevent the Torah world from flourishing. We hope that the tabbinate will take on the mantle of promoting the issue. We will examine the merits of any solution proposed as part of the petition.”

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.

(JNS)

{Matzav.com}

9 COMMENTS

  1. מְהָרְסַיִךְ וּמַחֲרִיבַיִךְ מִמֵּךְ יֵצֵאוּ – ישעיהו מט, יז

  2. 1. Not “ordainment” but ordination
    2. Israel Supreme Court has no business taking this case. It’s only new proof of the Court’s overreach and illegitimacy. The same goes for the State’s Attorney.

  3. the mageyfa that the world has been experiencing is not enough to bring klal yisroel to teshuvah? what more do they want? besides, women who want smicha are not interested in halacha. they just want a different version of the PHD

  4. “The Chief Rabbinate is an ultra-Orthodox entity recognized by law as the supreme rabbinic authority for Judaism in Israel. The Reform and Conservative streams of Judaism are not recognized by the ultra-Orthodox establishment.”

    Whether or not the Chief Rabbinate is an ‘ultra-Orthodox entity’ is perhaps arguable. But to say that they, or any other ‘ultra-Orthodox establishment’ does not recognize reform or conservative (down)streams of Judaism is misleading at best. Jews are Jews. Our sages teach, אף על פי שחטא ישראל הוה! We don’t recognize their interpretations of the Torah. We most certainly recognize THEM. We embrace them. We love them. We daven for them. We invite and teach them. We seek them out.

    • umm… and what happens when a reform or conservative conversion takes place for a women? is her children jewish? should they be considered jewish according to you?

  5. The Israeli Government is anti Torasinu Hkdosha and sonei datei r’l. Our dependence on them has and continues to be the cause of laxity in Shmiras hmitzvos r’l. Our relationship with the government must be determined exclusively by our Gedolim shlita.

  6. I would be extremely nervous trusting a doctor, if the government tried to decide what a good doctor means. Let the medical schools set that benchmark. If I disagree with such a school, I still have to admit they know more about their subject than I do.
    So too, it is illogical to assume a secular government can define a religious practice. I would not have faith in such a puppet religious ministry. This debate belongs outside of government, and within Rabbinic circles.

  7. “Reform and Conservative streams..?” They are more of a flush from a toilet.
    Reform and Conservative are not in any way a part of Judaism. They are made up “wanna-be” religions with no real beliefs.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here