web analytics
July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


The ‘Maharat': Wonderful Achievement, Bad Idea

the title rabbi (or its equivalent) is more than about recognition of achievement.

Maharat

I have said this in the past and still strongly believe it. People who achieve proficiency in any area of study deserve to be recognized for it. Gender does not matter. Women who for example become experts in the field of theoretical physics via study, examination, and fulfilling all requirements of a Ph.D. are entitled to called Doctor – with all its rights and privileges. This is true of any field of study. Including Jewish study. But the title rabbi is more than about being recognized for that achievement. A woman cannot possibly be entitled to all the rights and privileges that a rabbi gets. Not to mention the Serara issue and the perception issues.

I have always maintained that achievement should be formally recognized. But the title rabbi (or its equivalent) is more than about recognition of achievement. I’m sure that the three graduates of Yeshivat Maharat know more than some of my fellow musmachim (ordained rabbis). But this isn’t about knowledge. It is about breaking with tradition.

Tradition is not the only concern. There are also collateral issues that should not be over-looked. It is a rather well known phenomenon that women have become a dominant factor in Conservative shuls. If I am not mistaken Conservative Judaism’s flagship educational institution, JTS has more women currently studying for the rabbinate than they do men. And Shuls are increasingly being attended by more women than men.

This is not a good result. It’s one thing to want to attract more women to Shul. Even though a Shul is primarily designed for men to pray with a Minyan, there are definitely spiritual benefits for women praying there too. But when equality becomes the goal it seems that there is a natural disinclination for men to be there. That undermines the very equality that is so sought after by feminists.

I don’t know if the proliferation of the maharat will do the same to left wing Orthodoxy, the natural home of the maharat. But it should certainly be a concern.

That said, I definitely think there is a place for Jewish women that are highly educated in Judaism. They can – and already do – serve the Jewish community as teachers, principals, counselors and even as Halachic consultants (yoatzot). The more they know Jewishly, the better. And as I said they deserve recognition for it. But not as rabbi.

Even though I have much admiration for him, I disagree with Rabbi Asher Lopatin who was quoted in the Forward article. He said that a “maharat” is no different than a “rebbetzin” other than the fact that a maharat has more formal and professional training. Yes they have more of that. And they can function in the way a rebbetzin has always functioned. But to grant them the title of rabbi or any other version of that appellation makes it an entirely different enterprise than that of rebbetzin. And in my view opens a Pandora’s box that may never be able to be closed again.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

2 Responses to “The ‘Maharat': Wonderful Achievement, Bad Idea”

  1. Myriam Obadia says:

    Not I would ever want to be a Rabbi (or even a Maharat), but you haven't convinced me that your reasoning is sound in the matter. It seems to me that you rely on sophistry more than on logic.

  2. David Willig says:

    What about if we called them CHAPLAINS. If they were allowed to serve in Hospitals, nursing homes and the ARMY. Why is it that Rebbetzins can do all sorts of things that learned woman, who are not married to Rabbis, are not allowed to do.

Comments are closed.

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
Palestinian Authority Arabs climb a section of Israel's separation barrier in the village of Al-Ram, as they try to avoid crossing Israeli-controlled checkpoints to reach the al-Aqsa mosque compound at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City to attend Friday prayers in the fasting month of Ramadan.
Arab Killed in Rock Attack on IDF Commander, IDF Soldier Hurt at Qalandiya
Latest Blogs Stories
Malachi Rosenfeld HY"D

Israel & world Jewry are under attack and in grave danger but UN’s focus is denouncing Israel

Doug Goldstein

What is human chess? How easy is it to predict the actions of others?

Rethink UN bias against Israel

It’s time to stand up against the bias & no longer accept the constant UN prejudice against Israel.

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, one of four injured in a terror attack near the West Bank settlement of Shvut Rachel, north of Ramallah, has died (HYD)

Malachi Moshe Rosenfeld, injured in a terror attack in Samaria, has died (HYD)

Allah is NOT merciful: Stabbing, beheading, shooting innocents is barbaric & cowardly acts of terror

How could the Jerusalem Post think the attack could have been other than a terrorist act?

Going to Mt of Olives cemetery was like visiting Jurassic Park in a jeep with dinosaurs rampaging

Hanan Porat z”l, teary-eyed said ” We returned to the Gush(Etzion)we shall return to the Gush(Katif)

“Mispachology”: Theory you share a common link with someone you’ve never met or been in contact with

It seems that Pres. Rivlin has joined all other so-called Right politicians and now is trending Left

Dear Muslims, Happy Ramadan. It’s clear from the news that your people are having a “bang-up” month

The President was right, every Jew should have a gun. He just asked the wrong person about it.

Everybody knows that during Ramadan Arab Muslim terror attacks increase.

UN says Hamas tried to warn us of rocket attacks? I was here. Not once did those…I want to scream

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah} The inevitable finally happened. Rabbi Avi Weiss has dispensed with his prior refusal to call his female ordainees ‘rabbis’.  I challenged him to stop dancing around that title with made up titles  (like Raba and Maharat) and he finally rose to the challenge. His motivation in not […]

How can you transform thinking to action? What are the mountains you need to climb to reach goals?

More Articles from Harry Maryles
YeshivatMaharatLogo_square

{Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah} The inevitable finally happened. Rabbi Avi Weiss has dispensed with his prior refusal to call his female ordainees ‘rabbis’.  I challenged him to stop dancing around that title with made up titles  (like Raba and Maharat) and he finally rose to the challenge. His motivation in not […]

hand-76738_640

Existence requires meaning. Believing all random and without meaning is a horrible fate for mankind

People see a healthy parochial school system vs an anemic public school system and draw conclusions

Anyone not fighting this extremism is at best misguided; at worst tacitly approving/aiding extremism

When a young man gets a job he’s broken from the mainstream Chareidi world, complicating his dating

World Jewry, regardless of haskafa, united in solidarity with the parents of the 3 teenagers: Achdus

HaModia’s list of the new government’s ministers omitted the women ministers’ first names: WHY?

Women equalizing with men in all areas of Judaism is anathema to the very idea of male/female roles.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/haemtza/the-maharat-wonderful-achievement-bad-idea/2013/05/16/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: