web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



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.


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.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
Current Top Story
PLO / PA / Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
PA Unity Government Not Unified
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Why some countries are more economically successful than others? Tune in for the answer…

ethics

If not scared by God be scared by man; Hopefully ethics will integrate into lives for proper reasons

rgds

Smear campaigns by people with agendas other than justice do not faze him; He does what is right.

Even Muslims -- including a number of groups one might consider to be quite radical -- are distancing themselves from ISIS and declaring the group to be apostate.

Countries like Turkey, Europe and even the US have proven fertile ground for recruiting terrorists

How many times have you heard anti-semites spew words like Israel are Nazis, or what you are doing to the Arabs is worse that what the Nazis did to the Jews?!…

My blog, Israpundit, was hacked, and I had to move to a new domain…

There’s much confusion about the definition of Daas Torah; simply put it means the wisdom of Torah.

We’ll never be able to negotiate a true, lasting peace with the Arabs.Their aim is our destruction.

Now I live in a country where every shop in the food court is kosher! I can have anything I want!

Pashkevil: “Come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and all the traitors in Nahal Haredi…”

Jordan: Only M.E. country with no historical basis and ruled by occupiers placed by European powers.

Why is an IRA a worthwhile account for retirement? And how can you use it to the best advantage?

Like the fighter pilot’s letter, I wonder if certain units are simply too sensitive to allow certain leftwingers to serve in, and to entrust in their hands the security of our country and our lives.

There is only one thing more tragic than experiencing a terror attack, and that is allowing those who attacked you to do it again!

Smuggling Gazans into Europe is cheaper than fighting with Gaza, and then rebuilding all the destruction.

This week’s parsha offers a new covenant; a covenant that speaks to national life unlike any other

More Articles from Harry Maryles
ethics

If not scared by God be scared by man; Hopefully ethics will integrate into lives for proper reasons

rgds

Smear campaigns by people with agendas other than justice do not faze him; He does what is right.

There’s much confusion about the definition of Daas Torah; simply put it means the wisdom of Torah.

Pashkevil: “Come out today and battle the Zionist Amalek and all the traitors in Nahal Haredi…”

Rabbi Fink: “There are many ‘true believers who can’t even be in the presence of Orthodox Judaism.”

“The Obama administration proved once again that it is the best friend of its enemies, and the biggest enemy of its friends.”

1st thing that must be done: tear down that wall; 2nd thing: allocate empty classrooms to Charedim.

The CBD has still stood its ground because there are teachers on staff that knew and did nothing.

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: