web analytics
August 2, 2015 / 17 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Orthodox Women Clergy?


This does not mean women would or should be called “rabbi.” For reasons ranging from formal authority (serarah) being limited to men, to the title being given only to those who can serve as witnesses or function as chazzanim, to it simply being a matter of tradition, it is reasonable to argue that a different title should be given.

Nor does this does mean training for women in the Orthodox clergy must be identical to the training men receive for the rabbinate. Women sometimes bring different pastoral approaches that require different training. All of this is secondary to the fact that formal institutional training for women who wish to be part of the Orthodox clergy – teaching, preaching and answering questions of halacha and hashgacha – is an improvement over the current lack of any formal training and therefore a good idea. Such programs, granting degrees conferring fitness to be a member of the Orthodox clergy, are a wise idea whose time has come.

Some Objections – and a Reply

Some will no doubt protest that this will all lead down a slippery slope toward egalitarian services. Personally, I think this slope is unlikely to slip. Pastoral and halachic matters undertaken by clergy are quite distinct within Orthodoxy – from the liturgical work of a chazzan to the sexton duties of a gabbai to the rabbinical court responsibilities of a dayan. In England, different members of the clergy (not all of whom even have semicha) go by distinctly different titles, reflecting different roles: reverend, minister, rabbi, and dayan; maybe that is a fine idea worth importing to America.

Others object to this type of training based on their disagreement with the worldview (hashkafat olam) of specific individuals involved in organizing the first training program for Orthodox women clergy. (Let me be honest: I share many of those objections). But the solution to that objection is to open alternate training programs with different faculty, staff, students and worldviews. It would be a shame if a good idea were abandoned merely because some in the Orthodox community think ill of the people who first thought it.

So, yes, certifying people – men and women – as well-trained Orthodox clergy is a good idea, and certainly better than the status quo, which allows essentially untrained women to function in pastoral roles.

In the end, our community can only grow and flourish with well-trained clergy – both men and women – teaching, preaching and counseling God’s Torah. I look forward to all my children – both my sons and my daughters – being scholars and students of God’s living legacy on this planet.

About the Author: Rabbi Michael Broyde is a law professor at Emory University and project director at Emory University’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion.


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.

No Responses to “Orthodox Women Clergy?”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Forest fire blazing in Judean Hills.
Officials Reconsider Sprouting Wildfires After Terror Victim Memorial Torched
Latest Indepth Stories
Eishet Chayil

While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not

Jonathan Pollard.

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

Inside of the home burned in the Prce Tag attack in the village of Duma.

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

Silhouette of "hilltop settler."

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

American leftists have a pathological self-inflicted blindness to the dangers of political Islam

Hillary should THANK Trump; By dominating the news he’s overshadowed the implosion of her campaign

Hard to remember when Jewish youth were so hostile to their heritage as they are on campuses today.

Names of the enablers of Iran’s Nuclear weapons will be added next to Hitler’s on the list of infamy

By most accounts, the one person with the political muscle to swing enough Democratic votes to override a veto is Sen. Schumer.

The next day, in a speech in New York to the Council on Foreign Relations, Mr. Kerry substantially upped the ante.

In Israel, the judiciary has established itself as superior to ALL other branches of the government.

The Fifteenth Day of the month of Av became a day of national rejoicing. The moment that had seemed hopeless became the moment of Redemption.

I think the melodies in our religious services have a haunting sound to them that just permeates your guts and gets into your soul. If you have any musical inclination, I think they inspire you to compose.

More Articles from Rabbi Michael J. Broyde
Rabbi Michael J. Broyde

The Orthodox community should support laws that prohibit commercial discrimination in activity

Circumcision

The higher the standard of review, the less likely it is the law will be constitutional.

Israel – the land and the nation – lost a giant earlier this month with the passing of Justice Menachem Elon, a monumental talmid chacham who served on the Israeli Supreme Court from 1977-1993, and as its deputy president from 1988-93, bringing a deep Torah viewpoint to the highest tiers of the Israeli judiciary.

We know that genuine halachically viable solutions to the agunah problem are hard to come by and might not even be within our grasp. But we also know the agunah problem can be functionally solved in practice, even if not in theory, and the solution is clear and obvious.

This short essay will develop five critical points for responding to the voices within the broader community that seek to accept and legitimize homosexual conduct, an activity that directly contradicts the dictates of halacha.

You may applaud the idea of ordaining women rabbis, or you may recoil in horror at the prospect, but the simple fact remains that women already serve the Orthodox world in clergy-like positions.

Our natural inclinations would have us believe that individual actions, whether errors in judgment or extravagant demonstrations of bravery, generally do not affect the course of human history.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/orthodox-women-clergy/2009/07/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: