web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



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
Chaye Zisel Braun
Funeral for Chaye Zisel Braun Underway [photos]
Latest Blogs Stories
Car in Light Rail Runover

The headlines refused to scream “ARAB TERROR ATTACK;” instead the phrase “Suspected Terror Attack.”

"Shiloh"

I’ve heard many times I write what others think, making them extremely happy; that’s why I continue.

Statue of King David

Though secular, Hitman’s CV includes writing music for, recording, and popularizing religious songs.

256px-Israel-Palestine_flags.svg

Polls indicate that the Palestinians are much more against a two state solution than the Israelis.

Has the Jewish world adapted to the times? Hear the answer with Doug and his guest, Rabbi Berel Wein.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Kids bring in the light and let out the darkness through breathing exercises; it changes people.

If I make a million dollars in 2 weeks, how can I observe something like this and sit by quietly?”

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

How long will it take for Israel and the Jewish World to admit that we are in very serious danger?

How do changes in technology affect the human life and our interactions with each other?

Palestinians (and Jordanians) often use the term “provocation” regarding Israeli action in Jerusalem

The zealots who engineered the ban have been publicly disgraced.

I am sick and tired of this one way street boycott! Time to boycott all products developed or invented in the Palestinian controlled areas! Let’s start with……umm….

Such an incredible miracle to have Israel, it’s crazy that every Jew isn’t clamoring to live here!

Driving is cultural. I come from a place with incredibly polite and safe drivers, unlike Israel.

More Articles from Harry Maryles
eg

Kids bring in the light and let out the darkness through breathing exercises; it changes people.

Mir

If I make a million dollars in 2 weeks, how can I observe something like this and sit by quietly?”

“Shuls that are full on Friday night were fuller than normal, looking more like Yom Kippur”

I can’t blame these people for seeing women that way, it’s how they are raised-I blame the Hashkafa

Though the Talmud doesn’t give instructions, Metzitza has always been done B’Peh – by oral suction.

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

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.

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: