Woman cantor at HIR praised, rapped in new round of Orthodox feminist wars.
This time, in the pitched battle between Rabbi Avi Weiss and the Orthodox establishment, the “rabba” was merely the undercard.
Sara Hurwitz is a spiritual leader at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, and her promotion in March to rabba, a member of the shul’s rabbinic leadership, by Rabbi Weiss set off a brushfire of criticism at HIR and across the Orthodox world. She was at shul as usual last Friday night, but she was hardly the main event.
The woman at the center of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale’s historic Kabbalat Shabbat last week has made history before.
Lamelle Ryman, who became the first female — as far as is known — to lead the preliminary Friday evening service at an Orthodox synagogue in the United States, was the first woman, in 1996, to head the student government at Harvard University.
Ryman, an active member of the Hebrew Institute, is the founder of Journeymama.net, an online resource center for mothers and expectant mothers.