Rabbinical Council of America Passes Resolution Regarding Ordination of Women

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aviwThe following statement was given to YWN by the RCA:

The membership of the Rabbinical Council of America, in a resolution proposed by certain members, reaffirmed the traditional Orthodox position against the ordination of women, regardless of title, and the hiring of women in rabbinic positions in Orthodox institutions. At the same time, it reaffirmed its previous position supporting the growth of professional opportunities for women to teach and serve the Jewish community in many capacities.

In a 2010 resolution, the RCA recognized the value of advanced Torah learning for women and “encourage[d] a diversity of halachically and communally appropriate professional opportunities for learned, committed women, in the service of our collective mission to preserve and transmit our heritage.”

Rabbi Shalom Baum, president of the RCA, noted that the vote on the resolution was extremely close due in large part to the view of many members – including himself, the vast majority of current officers and rashei yeshiva with whom he consulted – that the 2010 unanimous resolution and a well-crafted statement of reinforcement in 2013 was sufficient to express the RCA’s position on this matter. Rabbi Baum stated, “I personally join with all of the officers, our poskim and our members whose overwhelming sentiment is in opposition to the ordination of women, no matter what title is used, and am deeply concerned with other innovations that challenge our community. However, I believe that this is a time to be proactive in educating the community about important issues in a more positive manner. This vote – even as it reflects some different viewpoints – is proof that we are a strong organization, unified in purpose, and willing to tackle difficult issues.”

Rabbi Baum wrote in a letter to membership that “as the role of women in society advances, we must consider and encourage appropriate professional opportunities open to learned women in our community, as we find positive ways to express the beauty of Torah and the importance of its values that have been extant for millennia. At the same time, as we move forward, we must ensure that women’s voices are heard and respected in these conversations. Furthermore, we are committed to working closely with rashei yeshiva, and our partners at Yeshiva University, the Orthodox Union and other key Modern Orthodox institutions to offer even more clarity on the issues confronting our community.”

(YWN Desk – nYC)




11 COMMENTS

  1. It is all our fault!
    We must stop referring to them using their professed term Orthodox,
    Or else find for ourselves a new denomination designation

  2. Orthodox Rabbis Confront Intermarriage,
    by Rabbi Kerry M. Olitzky of Big Tent Judaism and Rabbi Asher Lopatin of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.

    One look at its website says it all.
    Featuring celebratory photos of intermarried families, we readthings such as:

    The Jewish people have been a global people, a “mixed multitude,” for thousands of years. Today we’re more diverse than ever, and that’s something to celebrate. Our families are all colors and include members from all other religious and cultural backgrounds. Together we strive to add meaning to our lives and to better the world, informed by our rich heritage.

    We also read:

    The Torah and the rest of the Jewish sacred literature contain both admonitions against intermarriage and positive examples of intermarriage. In Deuteronomy7: 1-3, the Torah says, “You shall not intermarry with them: do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. For you will turn you children away from Me ….” This reference against intermarriage is based on the notion that intermarriage will lead the individual to another religion.

    Despite this, the Torah also portrays positive examples of intermarriage. Moses married Tziporra, who was the daughter of a Midianite priest. Ruth, the great-grandmother of King David, was a convert. Queen Esther, who saved the Jews from Haman in the Purim story, was married to the Persian, non-Jewish King Ahashverus.

    The prohibition against intermarriage sought to preserve Judaism by maintaining exclusivity. The laws of kashrut (keeping kosher) try to accomplish this indirectly. If you have a special diet, you are less likely to eat with non-kosher, non-Jews, and therefore, you have less opportunity to socialize, and consequently, marry them.

    That being said, it is evident that intermarriage is not only a modern phenomenon; it occurred in the Bible as well. Intermarriage is inevitable, especially in a society where Jews and non-Jews work together and socialize with one another with few barriers. Prohibiting it has not stopped the trend. Realizing the realities of Jewish society, the Jewish Outreach Institute works with the intermarried, promoting an inclusive Jewish community.

  3. Close vote?? That does not bode well for the future of the RCA and modern orthodoxy. If the future “Yes” vote happens, the RCA will split in half.

  4. The fact that they needed a resolution at all to express this does not bode well for the organization.

    The other thing is that all this does is exclude Weiss, YCT, and maharats from the RCA. It does nothing to exclude them from shuls, even OU synagogues, even potentially Young Israel synagogues.

  5. RCA can issue all the statements it wants. Statements mean NOTHING if they don’t DO anything when Weiss, YCT et al simply ignore them as they have done in the past. RCA has NO ONE to blame for what’s going on except themselves. Talk is cheap. It is having enough courage to ACT on your convictions that define you and this IS a defining moment for Modern Orthodoxy. So far, RCA has failed, in an epic fashion.

  6. The RCA statement is being justifiably ridiculed all over the internet as it forbids some titles (“Rabbi, Rabba, Maharat”) but permits other titles (“Yoetzet”) that result from nearly identical training programs and examinations. This is about politics, not halachah.

  7. The halachic source for prohibiting women from teaching or having authority over men is from the Christian scriptures and is given in the name of an apostate Jew. Even today, the overwhelming majority of Christians belong to Churches that refuse to ordain women. The RCA is going in the ways of the minim.