Why, oh why, did Gary Rosenblatt feel it necessary to mar an otherwise comprehensive column on the British chief rabbi’s appearances in the United States and the status of halachic leadership of Modern Orthodoxy with the unnecessary and erroneous parenthetical comment that “many prominent rabbis have been brought down by scandal?” (“Hail to the Chief,” April 23).
After much debate and despite predictions of a schism, the Rabbinical Council of America, the nation’s largest group of Orthodox rabbis, this week approved without dissent a carefully balanced resolution on women’s communal roles in Orthodox Jewish life.
The statement affirms a longstanding prohibition of women rabbis but allows congregational rabbis flexibility in determining appropriate roles for women in their synagogues and communities.
This letter is being written in support of Rabba Sara Hurwitz. We are two 13-year-old Jewish girls who heard her speak and were extremely moved by her cause (“RCA Set To Rule On Women’s Roles,” April 23).
The leadership of the Rabbinical Council of America expressed great pride in passing a resolution this week among hundreds of member rabbis, without opposition, on the delicate and contentious issue of women’s leadership roles in the Orthodox synagogue and community. One could attribute the achievement to the two months spent by the committee in laying the groundwork for consensus; a cynic might argue the resolution was approved overwhelmingly because it was so pareve. There’s truth in both points of view.
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.
N.Y. area rabbis, some feeling ‘forced,’ wading into rocky political waters; anxiety seen in pews.
As the strain in U.S.-Israel relations continues, some area rabbis who generally don’t mix religion and politics on the pulpit are setting aside those constraints.
“People were asking me and my hand was sort of forced,” said Rabbi Perry Rank, spiritual leader of the Midway Jewish Center, a Conservative synagogue in Syosset, L.I. “My sense is that Mr. [Barack] Obama has unnerved the American Jewish community and people are looking for a perspective on the issue.
British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: the Jewish people will continue to thrive if we maintain our pride and develop a sense of optimism.
Editor and Publisher
Listening to British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks deliver a positive message of Jewish survival and triumph at Lincoln Square Synagogue on Shabbat, and observing the enthusiastic, attentive overflow crowds at each of his three presentations, helped strengthen the impression for me that he has emerged as the leading voice of Modern Orthodoxy and religious Zionism in the world.
In bid to stabilize neighborhoods, more Modern Orthodox shuls
offering cash for new blood.
Assistant Managing Editor
When Phillip and Aviva Angel felt priced out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, and wanted to find a Modern Orthodox community where they could put down permanent roots, they searched the Internet for Jewish housing incentives.
“Being Modern Orthodox and the father of sons, I didn’t feel there were really any options for affordable Orthodox Jewish education in Brooklyn,” said Angel, a self-employed architectural consultant. “We were also looking for a suburb where you can commute affordably to New York City.”
Rabbi Haskel Lookstein is on the phone to another rabbi, trying to get him to help process “some wonderful candidates for conversion” the following Sunday. The Israeli chief rabbinate had pushed for narrower straits for converts to pass through, and the Rabbinical Council of America, Rabbi Lookstein’s group, went along with it.