Britain’s First “Orthodox Female Rabbi” Is Formerly Chassidish

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Britain received their first female Orthodox Rabbi when Dina Brawer received her ordination from Rabbi Dr. Daniel Sperber in London on Monday.

Rabbi Sperber, is a British-Israeli Rabbi who is best known for being the Rabbi of the Menachem Zion Shul in the Rovah in the Old-City of Jerusalem. Rabbi Sperber is also a professor of Talmud in Bar-Ilan University.

Brawer, who is originally Italian, comes from Moroccan heritage and will be taking the title of Rabbi. Many of the graduates from the “Maharat program” in which Brawer studied have chosen other titles to avoid conflict with more conservative elements within the Orthodox community. Her official graduation from the Maharat program will take place in Riverdale, at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in June. She has served as Rabbinic Intern this past year in the Netivot Shalom Shul in Teaneck, New Jersey. Brawer is also the founder of the British branch of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA).

“I will describe myself as a rabbi, that’s what I’ve trained to do and that’s what I’m qualified to serve as,” she said in an interview with Britain’s Jewish News website.

“I wanted to be a role model to women and girls in the community, to show this is not something only possible as a man, but definitely possible as a woman and something women should aspire to,” she said in the interview. “Young girls should become anything they want. You can be well-educated, you can get a Ph.D. in any topic, but when it comes to Jewish studies and religious studies, there’s a limitation. Well, there’s definitely no limitation.”

Brawer, who was raised in a Chabad family and community, is married to Rabbi Naftali Brawer. The couple announced that they intend to move to the United States permanently in the near future. They have already confirmed positions to work as executive directors of the Hillel at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

70 COMMENTS

  1. “They have already confirmed positions to work as executive directors of the Hillel at Tufts University, in Medford, Massachusetts.”
    Well I see that at least it qualifies her to be a college co-ed.
    Dorah, are you planning to come off your rocking chair and follow in her footsteps?

  2. My first shailah would be does she recommend frying the potato kugel or baking it, and should the onions be sauteed and cooled before adding them or can they go in straight from the frying pan.

  3. “Brawer, who was raised in a Chabad family and community, is married to Rabbi Naftali Brawer.”

    -Shocked.. chabad? Family and community? Wow I was under the impression that this stuff never happens in the elite race. Only everywhere else especially in the circles of those worthless misnagdim. I mean “snags”. Bet you won’t see this article on col, it just doesn’t fit in with the propaganda. But if this woman was known to come from a Litvish family, this would be front page headlines on all chabad media with a heck storm of sickening and hateful comments against everyone outside of chabad.
    Kiddush lubavitch anyone?

  4. Although her statement ““Young girls should become anything they want. You can be well-educated, you can get a Ph.D. in any topic, but when it comes to Jewish studies and religious studies, there’s a limitation. Well, there’s definitely no limitation.” has truth in it, there will be limitations in religious life- life is full of healthy and organized limitations which allow each of us individually to soar to our unique heights.

    Although I am a male, because I am not a Cohen there will be certain functions that I am limited to when the Beis Hamikdash arrives. Just as the Cohen is limited from being under the roof with a deceased body, which I am not limited.
    Because she is a female, she can attain a PHD and become a knowledge whiz in whatever academics she’d like, but can never be counted as a Frum minyan.

  5. and i know plenty shomrei torah who became atheists, christians and so it was thruout all ages starting in mitzrayim (v’chamishim”..ask footsyep memebers,dvorah feldman,chariner, anan(frome keroim)etc etc etc

  6. thats why chabad is starting to fall apart they’ll be involved in outreach and under the umbrella of agudas chasidei chabad and no one will come out to condemn this couple, because their leaderless. how do we know that by 2040 there won’t be non jews or Israelites that go out on shlichus and no one will be able to speak out against them because there all spread out with no leader. hefker velt

  7. Her gender aside, what do they learn in maharam that qualifies them as Rabbis? Do they spend 6 years on yeshiva understanding Noshim and Nezikin with the Rishonim in order to understand ‘Daaas Torah’ Do they spend 3 years learning choshen mishpat and yoreh Derah witth the commentaries and getting examined thoroughly? Do they do shimush by the nations leading Poskim to comprehend how to address a Shaaleh?
    Or are they just taught enough content to be able to deliver an eloquent eulogy and a beutiful sermon.
    Thats called a minister not a Rabbi.

  8. i’m actually surprised she comes from a chabad family. while they differ in hashkafa from much of the rest of orthodoxy, they are usually great at passing on their derech, for better or for worse. usually chabad instills their children with a (un)healthy level of gaava to look down at every other type of belief system, while being outwardly respectful of everyone. i wonder what went wrong and if this family is b’mekor Chabad.

  9. At the Knessia Gedolah in Vienna 1931 where almost all of Europes Roshei Yeshiva and Gedolim of the generation were present, a very strong letter was issued declaring an Issur Gomur for a woman to take a rabbinical position or title, and such titles are to be despised.

  10. Lebron06:
    “I look forward to a Halachic analysis by Rabbi Hoffman in the near future…”

    Rav Hoffman has written on several occasions about various “Maharat” programs and other forms of granting semicha to women and he is generally NOT supportive of these efforts. However, in every case, he has expressed is views in a respectful and non-demeaning way without the type of hyperbole that often is used in connection with the issue.

  11. A publication called “Yeshiva World” should either ignore this type of tragic news or report it with clear disapproval.

  12. @Menachem Melamed

    -I mean you gotta give YWN credit, they did try to hide and protect the fact that shes from a chabad family by labeling “formerly chassidish”. While other outlets straight up wrote shes from chabad. Obviously not chabad outlets though they dont report negative things about themselves.

  13. Sickening. This site calls itself Yeshiva World, yet there’s no disclaimer at the bottom stating that this is completely assur, and that her and her ilk are counted with the Reform/Conservative (or as they call themselves Open Orthodox) and their ‘enlightened’ liberal views.
    YWN put up a disclaimer after the Parkland shooting so as not to offend the non-jews who view this site, yet sees no need to condemn this despicable perversion of Judaism.
    Shame on you!

  14. @Ayeshivishguy – Just another self-hating Jew.

    You have been commenting on YWN for ages, and there is no question that you have seen all the anti-Avi Weiss and Maharat articles on this site before.

    Seriously, get a life.

  15. These people, her, the so-called “rabbi” who gave her this title and her husband are neither frum nor Orthodox, despite their claims to be.

  16. @Git Meshige

    -Actually I wasnt bashing them at all simply stating facts. You want to see bashing? Go to their website collive (dot com) and type in “Litvish” in the search bar. What you will see is over 200 negative articles about litvishers including berating Litvish Gedolim with no remorse. Look at the comment sections of the vomit inducing articles and you will be sickened to your stomach with disbelief on how those comments even passed the Litvish hating moderators. You will puke at the pure sinas chinam from the so called Ahavas Yisrael sector of Jews. Comments ranging from bashing Rav Elyashiv Zt”l and Maran Shteinman zt”l, both while they were alive and after. The articles range from over 10 years ago until present and the derogatory tune remains the same.
    Even the latest Pesach Beer Mechira was turned by them into an opportunity to bash litvishers by calling them every vile name under the sun and on how they are “jealous” of chabad.
    So before you attack me, ask anyone who knows them well what they think of “Litvaks” and of “Chassidim” and then reply. Or just check for yourself. They have enough articles to convince you.

  17. It is not clear from the article what makes her “Britains first female Orthodox Rabbi”- she is orginally from Italy and it looks like she studied in Riverdale, did an internship in Teaneck and is moving to the US. What is “first” about this other than the smicha being signed in London?

  18. “A publication called “Yeshiva World” should either ignore this type of tragic news or report it with clear disapproval….”

    This is a news story of interest to a large percentage of the YWN readership, virtually all of whom don’t agree with the Avi Weiss et. al. segment of the frum tzibur who believe women should be allowed to function in some role as a Maharat or Rabbanit or whatever title they choose. There are several stories every week about another Peleg demonstration or riot which involves gnavah from property damage, creating pikuach nefesh, and physical assaults but I don’t see you demanding a YWN disclaimer about these recurring violations for daas torah nor condemnation of the rabbaonim and askanim who organize these riots.

  19. Good that YWN did not exist at the time of the shoftim, or else everyone in hear would have been making the same unpleasant remarks about Devorah the Nevi’ah/Shofetes. Or at least people here would have had a difficult time with the matter. I’m also thinking about Beruriah, and also about the Maharshal’s grandmother.

  20. Might I be so bold as to suggest that the term “Rabbi” is non-halachik. I do not know of any halacha attached to being a Rabbi. Therefore, the rabbinate is anything you define it as. Hence there is no problem with a woman rabbi at all. If you think she understands Tosfos, ask her about it. If you don’t, don’t.

  21. @litvishechossid I never saw posts in COL with hateful comments about misnagdim, what I do see is litvishechossid posting “sickening and hateful comments” against Chabad
    So funny how one can be so ignorant of his own behavior

  22. To litvishechosid – you are just so full of hate. Which one of the animals who beat up frum soldiers are you? Gingy? Using another nom de plume so you can get the anti-Chabad digs in?

    Mind you, it’s true Chabad has a few oddballs ( this woman is certainly misguided at best) but “your lot”… you promote hate en masse & have no problem acting on it, either via physical & verbal abuse or on sites like YWN.

    What did you do to help a Yid who is not like you in the past year?

  23. To Annoyed and Litvishechossid:

    Annoyed: This couple grew up in Chabad, but hasn’t considered themselves Chabad in many years, they’ve been an MO couple and husband is an MO Rabbi for years.

    Every community has people who leave their value system etc, starting with אברהם יצא ממנו ישמעאל, יצחק יצא ממנו עשו and so on.

    They aren’t Chabad Shluchim whom the leadership (Merkos Leinyonei Chinuch, Agudas Chasidei Chabad etc) has to keep in line. They are independent people who live their own lifestyle, unconnected to Chabad.

    To Litvishechossid: the only response your comments deserve is that you seem like an immature and ignorant child, who has heard a few inaccurate things, and decided he is an expert on Chabad. If that’s the way you approach a subject, I think it’s safe to assume that you’re probably not a very big lamdan etc

  24. Such sickening Lashon Harah.

    Rabbi is a title for teacher & Torah guide. She’s not donning tefillin, reading from the Torah, or preforming milah. Let’s relax abit & instead say a few perakim of tehillim in honor of Yerushalayim ir hakodesh.

  25. WHY ARE GIVING THIS WOMAN THE TITLE OF RABBI? SHE IS NO MORE A RABBI THAN THE REFORM RABBIS.THE “OPEN ORTHODOX” IS ALSO REFORM.WHAT’S NEXT? THE FIRST CATHOLIC HINDU RABBI?

  26. This is the second time in a Yeshiva World News is posting a story about someone who is against Halacha Las week they posted when a Reform Rabbi your killed in a plane crash & now about a woman Rabbi. These storiea should not be published on this website as we don’t want to give these apikorsim publicity.

  27. @yidbenyid- if you haven’t seen hateful comments on col then you are oblivious.(it’s not only collive btw) There are so many that the propagandous site should probably be banned. I am not hateful at all and all I did was point things out I did not bad mouth even once. Again, check for yourself I told you what to search, trust me I have done it once while stumbling across an article.

    @aryehch- nope, not misguided and haven’t just “heard a few things”. I actually know this matter very up close and personal. Anyone else who does will tell you the same. That is why you will not be able to point out one thing I said as being truly hateful, but you will always accuse.
    I’m pretty sure the mods have checked those nasty comments on collive one time or another and that is why my comments are able to point this out.

    If anyone thinks the “rabba” isn’t proud to be chabad, think again. Google her name there’s a picture of her in her office with a framed Rebbe picture in the background which is a signal of your chabad pride to the world.

    Here’s a link that won’t be posted but the mods can take a glance for a hint of what I mean. Comment section.
    http://www.collive.com/show_news.rtx?id=5543&hl=litvish

  28. It is hard to believe that not one comment is positive about this? One almost gets the impression that the comment section is censored. Shocking.

  29. @litvishechossid, everyone is entitled to do what they want. She can hang pictures of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and talk about her Chabad connections. The fact is they are not shluchim and have been modern orthodox for 20 years. This has nothing to do with Chabad as a Chassidus, organization or movement.

    Keep in mind, Collive is a private enterprise and represents no one except their owners.

    As a Lubavitcher chasid, I have been repulsed by many things on that website (and ywn), but keep in mind that this is just individuals not movements.

    Unfortunately, the anonymity of the internet brings out bad middos in people of ALL kreizen. If you want a proof, look at the bullying that is going on in this article alone.

    Hashem yerachem.

  30. Litvishe chossid, there are plenty of litvaks and chasidim who have gone off the derech. By you singling out this story is because you hate chabad and all that they have accomplished. You’re propaganda and hate will not convince a rational person aonyoure agenda is clear to all. Btw, next time you are stuck in Wyoming for shabbos , be sure to check into a motel 6 and not call the local Chabad House

  31. @Git Meshige- No sir. The problem is that chabad outlets always single out anything negative that has to do with litvish or chassidish outside chabad. They will never show themselves in a negative way and the proof is that you do not see this article on any of the chabad outlets. This is because the female “rabbi” does in fact have a connection to chabad so they hide it. I understand she is not promoting chabad I am simply stating that had the sides been reversed this would make front page headlines on all chabad media outlets with nasty comments dancing all over them insulting litvishers. In fact the only reason that chabad sites such as collive publish articles relating to litvishers and lakewood is simply to stir up controversy and continue the hate, and lubavitchers follow the lead.

    @chasid- I have heard all those excuses before. If something doesnt fit your agenda, then suddenly that person isnt from a chabad family. Again I didnt say she is a shlucha but that does not disprove the fact that she is from a chabad family or chabad affiliated.

    “Keep in mind, Collive is a private enterprise and represents no one except their owners.”
    – This is a classic counter argument over and over again. Collive in fact DOES represent the thoughts of lubavitchers especially in crown heights! Not only these comments are written online, they are spoken in person and at farbrengen gatherings even at 770! I have personally had shluchim trying to disprove me by “blowing me away” with chassidus.
    Check manis friedman, almost every video follows that agenda.
    Even if you argue that the site does not represent lubavitchers, it certainly does influence them. It is a propagandous site trying to make a name for chabad over everyone else. They constantly publish articles of litvishers who “converted” to chabad, or were “blown away” by chassidus or by a farbrengen, even though they only report half the story. They interpret someone respecting other hashkafas as abandoning their own hashkafa and converting to chabad.
    Besides you will see articles not only by “private entities” but also by shluchim an rabbis who sign their name on articles they submit, which promote a lot of negativity towards yidden outside of chabad.

    And yes GITMESHIGE last I checked chabad houses arent hotels, and dont worry if anyone stays there they always leave a nice donation. So nice attempt at the classic “everyone needs chabad”. Besides, there are MANY litvish organizations that do much good who do not try to put it in everyones face as if its a competition. And yes even lubavitchers benefit from them.

  32. You can call me all the names you’d like I am simply pointing out facts without resorting to insults. Nothing can beat personal experiences or knowledge. And believe me when I say that I do not bring this up in order to stir up hate or negativity. Quite the contrary, I point it out to bring it to everyones ATTENTION, so that maybe it can change once they realize this fault. Blindly yelling misnaged or hater simply because you refuse to accept reality or are not aware, shows your ignorance and why the situation is as it is. And dont let my SN fool you into taking advantage to attack that i am just another snag from the litvish world. I am fully aware and do not just throw out insults or claims without backing. I simply do not wish to bore you with other links and stories.
    It would be nice however if lubavitchers would be able to accept the fact that there are other hashkafos and be able to respect other Yidden even if they dont choose to “convert” to chabad. Sadly, its not the case.

  33. Forget the Chabad stuff which is irrelevant to the article regardless of your opinion of Chabad. Issue here is why did YWN print an article like this with a title calling this Orthodox without any opinion against this usage. Seems like it’s more important for YWN to say something against chassidim or charedi then to care about our mesorah. Follows a general pattern of the strong editorial bend of this site being anti core mesorah of gedolei yisroel.

  34. Would be interesting to know how many times she went through the Shas and the Shulchan Oruch with the poskim. Rabbi akiva spent 24 years learning Torah before he was called a rabbi.

  35. To be fair here’s the title-Britain’s First “Orthodox Female Rabbi” Is Formerly Chassidish

    Notice “Orthodox Female Rabbi” in quotations.

  36. Elazar Valk
    May 13, 2018 1:51 pm at 1:51 pm
    Would be interesting to know how many times she went through the Shas and the Shulchan Oruch with the poskim. Rabbi akiva spent 24 years learning Torah before he was called a rabbi.
    ————————
    90 % of todays yungerliet are called rabbis yet they haven’t even accomplished a 1/2 % of rabbi akivas knowledge of 24 years of REAL learning.

  37. According to Rav J.B. Soloveitchik
    as many are aware including Sperber but now choose to conveniently ignore
    it was and is absolutely forbidden as per Devorim 17;15 to appoint a female Rabbi or ANY such similar position.

  38. to elazar volk and Eli51- you are incorrect. This has been debated before and it is widely accepted that women can have positions of leadership. In any case- mentioning “tzniu’s make no sense at all here.

  39. rabbiofberlin, this has been “debated” by your fellow “ra bonim” and their conclusion is not l’shem shomayim, only l’shem liberalism. And therefore the “conclusion” on this issue, like the other “conclusions” by the Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionists and other such “ra bonim” have resulted in mass abandonment of Torah law, mass assimiliation, and massive chillul Hashem. And Modern Orthodoxy and their fake “rabbis” including this “woman rabbi” are on the same path to destruction. These rulings have nothing to do with halacha, they have everything to do with liberalism while having the Torah serve them as opposed to them following the Torah.

    This reminds me of the pictures of these “Rabbis” wearing tallieism while campaigning for the “rights” of gays, trangenders and the like. Under the guise of Judaism they advance their corrupt ideals.

    Women who seek leadership roles that traditionally belonged to men and men who promote these ideas are mentally and emotionally corrupted and this has nothing to do with Judaism and halacha, but it has everything to do with their self-serving agendas.

  40. To me, the men commenting are simply intimidated by a women who may know a bit more then them.
    And this is also the reason why many shidduchim fall apart. Guys are simply afraid of the wife knowing too much.

  41. T2-2T; We have no idea how much she knows or how many mesechtos she learned or how much of Shulchan Aruch she was tested on. It is irrelevant on any case. Those who cite Bruriah etc. are not proving anything as she was not granted semicha. If I recall correctly her personal life was not successful either.
    While you guys and gals are at it you can stop saying Yekum Purkan since there are no Talmidei Chachomim left in Bavel.

  42. Maybe she’s Moshiach!!! Maybe Moshiach is a woman give me break!!!! Everyone has got to know where they belong and one has to get permission from higher authorities before doing such a controversial act!!! Pinchas was scared to kill Zimri but Moshe encouraged him. Let her ask Daas torah before she does such a foolish move. Wait a moment she has daas torah!! Get a life!!!!

  43. philosopher: you are probably about 18 years old and you have no clue what you are saying. The debate on this goes back many decades and there are actual teshuvos on this from Poskim-and they came to a conclusion that women in leadership positions (I did not say rabbonus but leadership) does not come under the aegis of “som tosum olecho melech” that does puts limits on women. “lech zil gemor’

  44. roberlin,
    False as usual,
    Would anyone expect better coming from ya?

    Actually he stated that even a female Shul President is wrong.

    Read the Teshuvos and Articles on this subject from R’H Schachter amongst others?

  45. It s time for the truth-check Rav Uziel and Rav Herzog and you will find alternative views. And many orthodox shuls have women Presidents.

  46. To litvishe chossid,
    After reading your amusing rant against Chabad, I can’t help but smile as I read the olden day cliche anti Chabad rhetoric which has never ceased m, ever since the alter Rebbe was imprisoned by a group of midnagdim who told lies about him to the government to get him in trouble.

    Ye know, I’m starting to get the feeling that you’re really a Lubavitcher, posing as a litvisher and writing hateful comments just to make litvishers look bad (something to do with ur username?)

    I searched “litvishe” on col, and all I saw were wonderful comments about reb Aharon leib shteinman zt”l ppl were saying things like

    “A true Gadol and man of peace who loved both Chassidim and Litvishe Yidden. A sincere and honest man not a politician”

    “Chabad lost a true friend”

    “Oy what a loss! Are there anymore left like him?”

    Etc. Etc. Only nice things, so why are you twisting facts to demonize the rest of Chabad?

    And if you are able to say that col represents the entire litvishe world, then

  47. To litvishe chossid,
    After reading your amusing rant against Chabad, I can’t help but smile as I read the olden day cliche anti Chabad rhetoric which has never ceased m, ever since the alter Rebbe was imprisoned by a group of midnagdim who told lies about him to the government to get him in trouble.

    Ye know, I’m starting to get the feeling that you’re really a Lubavitcher, posing as a litvisher and writing hateful comments just to make litvishers look bad (something to do with ur username?)

    I searched “litvishe” on col, and all I saw were wonderful comments about reb Aharon leib shteinman zt”l ppl were saying things like

    “A true Gadol and man of peace who loved both Chassidim and Litvishe Yidden. A sincere and honest man not a politician”

    “Chabad lost a true friend”

    “Oy what a loss! Are there anymore left like him?”

    Etc. Etc. Only nice things, so why are you twisting facts to demonize the rest of Chabad?

    And if you are able to say that collive (dot com) represents the entire chabadworld, then im able to say that Chabad-mafia (dot com) represents the entire litvishe world! Don’t know what Chabad-mafia is? It’s basically a propaganda website that presents outrageous lies in order to delegitimize Chabad and plant false ideas in the minds of unsuspecting viewers. The things they write there are truly sickening to the core. Visit the site and you’ll see what I mean.

    They call the alter rebbe a “violent criminal”
    and put up wacky cartoons making fun of Chabad and the Rebbe, portraying the latter as a money hungry rabbi claiming to be moshiach and driving the whole world crazy. Just take a look and you’ll see what I mean.

    I’ve tried raising awareness about this site and the threat they pose to the ignorant public that can access the site at all ages. Kids could be viewing that nonsense!!

    To git mishega,
    You said “the era of chabad bashing by litvaks is over. Get with the program.”

    That is not true. The era of Chabad bashing by litvaks has never ended, as can clearly be seen from litvishe chossid’s comments

  48. rabbiofberlin, I am waaaay over 18 years old. And all Rabbonim would agree with my previous comment unlike your leftist “ra bonim” who have caused, and continue to cause, massive chillul Hashem and destruction to the Jewish nation.

    Woman “rabbis” are disgusting. Those who twist halacha for their own agendas are disgusting. I’m a proud woman and I don’t need a “leadership role” to make me feel fulfilled. Those supposedly frum women who need “leadership roles” should get a life and find different hobbies if they still wish to be considered frum because so called “women rabbis” are destroyers of Yiddishkeit and champions of secular liberal ideoligy and consequently they are anti-frum.