Orthodox rabbis seek ‘consensus’ resolution at meeting; will it satisfy anyone?
Editor And Publisher
As the controversy over women’s roles within Modern Orthodoxy has roiled over the past few months, the leadership of the largest body of Orthodox rabbis in the U.S. has consistently pointed to its upcoming national conference as the time for sorting out, dealing with and resolving the thorny issue.
Now, on the eve of the Rabbinical Council of America’s convention — and with women edging closer to rabbinic duties in some high-profile synagogues — some members suggest expectations may be too high.
Lost in the furor over Sara Hurwitz’s title is the broader issue of women’s roles within Modern Orthodoxy.
Dina Najman, rosh kehila (head of the congregation) at Kehilat Orach Eliezer on the Upper West Side, spends a majority of her day answering halachic questions, teaching classes expounding upon Jewish texts and counseling couples and individuals who are having personal difficulties. Her male rabbinic colleagues often consult with her on questions of bioethics, her area of expertise.
The bulk of the work that she does, she says, is not gender specific — and shouldn’t be viewed that way.
Tells JOFA conference that controversial title may be hindrance; her shul now reviewing the situation.
Elicia Brown And Gary Rosenblatt
Sara Hurwitz, the woman of the hour at this year’s international conference of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), revealed here on Sunday that she is considering relinquishing her controversial and unique new title of “rabba.”
The RCA doesn’t like the way Avi has been spinning things, he’s been talking too loudly and defiantly, saying that he came away with a victory – about anything. So now the word “maharat” has to go, not just “rabba.” Both the RCA and Agudah are in agreement that Hebrew Institute itself will now have to decide if it is Orthodox or not. This is no longer about Avi alone.
After months of deliberation, a group of Orthodox scientists and Jewish law experts this week announced its endorsement of cloning cells for therapeutic purposes, but opposed cell cloning for reproductive purposes.
The ruling, by a team of Orthodox experts assembled by the nation’s two largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella groups — the Orthodox Union and the Rabbinical Council of America — appears to put all three major Jewish denominations in agreement on the complicated issue of cloning research.
When the Synagogue Council of America — the only national rabbinic group representing Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewry — broke up in 1994 after 68 years, observers said it underscored the growing rift between Orthodox and non-Orthodox Jews.
“Maybe it has outlived its usefulness,” mused member Rabbi Fabian Schonfeld of the Young Israel of Kew Garden Hills at that time.
Orthodox rabbis are pledging to take action in confronting the reality of sexual abuse in their midst.
The nation's main association of centrist Orthodox clergy, the 1,200-member Rabbinical Council of America, has passed a strongly worded resolution committing the organization and its members to report acts or suspicions of child abuse to the police: a watershed break with longstanding practice in the Torah-observant community of protecting errant rabbis rather than reporting them to civil authorities.
The unsettling reports of rabbis committing crimes against both secular and Jewish law, and against common-sense morality, seem these days to come unrelentingly.
Reform Rabbi Fred Neulander from Cherry Hill, N.J., sits in prison awaiting trial for arranging his wife's murder, which happened at the same time he was having an affair.
Orthodox Rabbi Baruch Lanner was accused recently in these pages of physically and sexually abusing the young people in his charge in his nearly three decades with the Orthodox Union's National Conference of Synagogue Youth.
A long-awaited agreement between America’s centrist Orthodox rabbinical group and Israel’s chief rabbinate on standards for conversion to Judaism remains fragile and may still be scuttled. Even the leading players involved contradict each other as they dispute the exclusive right to certify rabbis as fit to perform conversions in the U.S.