"We are closer to G-d when we are asking the questions, than when we think we have the answers" Heschel

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Female Orthodox Rabbis

FNQ - 5 q's for the week
I don't know all the details but it appears that Rabbi Avi Weiss who recently gave a woman the title of Rabba (female Rabbi) has retracted. Women who finish his training program will once again receive the original acronym/title of Maharat (it means: female leader in the areas of halacha, spirituality and Torah). While reverting back to Maharat is perhaps a temporary bandaid to appease the mainstream Orthodox discomfort with Rabba,  the desire on the part of some to create a position entitled "female rabbi" remains unaddressed. I would like to pose 5 questions on the concept of female Orthodox Rabbis. These questions are not meant as an attack, yet I admit that I am asking them from a position of open skepticism. Come back on Tuesday for my thoughts on this topic and my answers to some of these questions.

  1. Is creating female Rabbinical positions an attempt to address the needs of a community or to address the needs of individual women who are unsatisfied with the traditional roles that are available to them?

  1. What will be sacrificed in the inevitable conflict between a woman having/raising a family and the demands of a Rabbinical position?

  1. What happens when an attractive women becomes a Rabbi and a male congregant complains that he finds himself distracted when praying after hearing her deliver a drasha?

  2. How will people react to the idea that their female Rabbi speaks to them from the bima and then afterwards is forced to pray behind a wall?

  3. What will be the next innovation made after the first female Orthodox Rabbi is ordained?
What do you think?

Binyamin – always looking for a good question.

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