Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah Condemn Rabbi Avi Weiss & His ‘Rabbah’


(10 Adar 5770)

Rabbi Avi Weiss has conferred “semikha” upon a woman, has made her an Assistant Rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale where she carries out certain traditional rabbinical functions, and has now given her the title of “Rabbah” (formerly “Maharat”).  He has stated that the change in title is designed to “make it clear that Sara Hurwitz is a full member of our rabbinic staff, a rabbi with the additional quality of a distinct woman’s voice.”

These developments represent a radical and dangerous departure from Jewish tradition and the mesoras haTorah, and must be condemned in the strongest terms.  Any congregation with a woman in a rabbinical position of any sort cannot be considered Orthodox.


Rabbi Simcha Bunim Ehrenfeld
Rabbi Yitzchok Feigelstock
Rabbi Dovid Feinstein
Rabbi Aharon Feldman
Rabbi Yosef Harari-Raful
Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetsky
Rabbi Aryeh Malkiel Kotler
Rabbi Avrohom Chaim Levin
Rabbi Yaakov Perlow
Rabbi Aaron Schechter


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  1. Finally, an article about the Rabbonim saying something, where we can clearly see who exactly were the ones saying it (according to the article anyway).

    Now all those who said that there is no Halacha against women rabbis, are you saying these Rabbonim are wrong, or that you have the right to ‘pasken’ against them?

  2. with all due respect to the Moetzes (and i mean that sincerely),COMMENT DELETED BY MODERATOR.

    NOTE: Feel free to contact any of the Gedolim on the Moetzes and ask them your questions. Start with the Posek Hador, Rav Dovid Feinstein. He can be found any day in his Yeshiva, and will be glad to answer you.

  3. What’s in this for Rabbi Weiss?

    Didn’t he know he’d get everyone riled up against him and get a “black mark” for generations? What was his gain?

  4. i apologize if my previous comment was understood as disrespectful by the moderator. this was not my intention.

    i was simply asking why the moetzes decided to speak out specifically about this issue in particular.

    since when is it assur to ask “what’s p’shat”?

  5. this is what it looks like when individulse like Rabbi Avi Weiss thinks that ‘his’ opinion and decision is the whole world, with out consulting other gedolim, it happens again and again.

  6. @5 Avi Weiss simply does not care if he riles people up. All of us here and our Moetzes protect our mesorah….and the Avi Weisses of the world, well they don’t protect our mesorah. The fact of the matter is, Avi Weiss does not give a darn what the Moetzes thinks. Imagine if the protestant movement put a catholic guy in cherem…that’s what it is like for the Moetzes vs Weiss…..MAYBE he’ll respond to some pressure from the RCA. It may not be a black mark for him, but it is certainly a black mark for what the world perceives as “orthodox”

  7. #4 editors comment when you called R’ Dovid Shlita the posek Hador I presume you meant American Posek Hador?

    #5 he is furthering his agenda just becouse the moetez decries this doesnt meant the modern orthodox world will care the slightest. I’d love to see a statement from The American posek Hador’s Brother-in-law Rabbi Tendler condemning this, that might have some effect in the MO world.
    this is not about his name in our circles its about changing the reality in his world and nebach the damage as been done amalek has cooled the waters, so no matter how bad he is scathed the next one one be as badly burnt, and from the left of center we can expect to challila see more of this.
    The answer is for all of us to really look closely in the mirror and ask ourselves how much are we TRULY serving Hashem and how much of our ‘frumkeit’ is because our neighbors are watching and we were brought up that way?
    how much are we concerned with what Hashem really wants and how much are we concerned with the nonsensible velt?
    lets all stop pretending and start truly building our relationships with our maker, and become spiritual not just ritual

  8. to #7

    Not to in ANY WAY question, c”v, a great chochom like R’ Gifter zt”l… but the term “synagogue” is a also Greek word (“sunagoge,” meaning “an assembly”). So are “Sanhedrin”(from “sunedrion,” meaning council)and “gematria” (geōmetría). (Let me stress that the TERMS are Greek in origin, NOT the concepts they are employed to define)

    I personally have NO problem with the term “orthodox.” From “ortho,” meaning “right” or “true,” and “doxa,” meaning “opinion” or “belief,” Orthodox Jews are, therefore, Jews of the true belief.

    The irony, of course, is that the label was first used by REFORMERS as an INSULT!! Some insult! You can call me a “Jew of the true belief” all day long. By the way reformers… if I am a Jew of the TRUE belief, what does that, by definition, make you?

  9. At least the Conservative Jewish Theological Seminary waited until Rabbi Shaul Lieberman (who paskind for their hanhala in a six page t’shuva that female rabbis were assur), had passed away before ordaining women rabbis. And even then, the top echelon deans resigned as a result.