education · Jews/Jewish/Judaism/Orthodox Judaism · rabbi · Rabbi Avi Weiss

Always the last to know…

When Jewschool posted the information below recently on their blog, I thought they were kidding. Apparently, they weren’t.

“I just got a huge announcement in a tiny email:

We are pleased to announce the opening of Yeshivat Mahara”t, an Orthodox Yeshiva of Higher Learning, founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss of The Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.

Yeshivat Mahara”t (Manhiga Hilchatit Ruchanit Toranit) will train women to become Orthodox Spiritual Leaders– full members of the Rabbinic Clergy– in Synagogues, Schools, and on University Campuses.

Resumes and letter of interest should be emailed to Mahara”t Sara Hurwitz at sarahurwitz {at} yahoo(.)com, or call 718-796-4730, ext 107.”

In case you’re as dense as I am, this means that there is now officially an Orthodox school for women rabbis.

The JTA (Jewish Telegraph Agency) weighs in on this decision in “New program to train Orthodox women as non-rabbis”.

For more on the school read “Jewess: More Info on Yeshivat Mahara”t”.

21 thoughts on “Always the last to know…

  1. what Anonymous must mean is that, etymologically, the word ‘travesty’ is identical to ‘transvestite’. Anonymous must be making a serious point about his/her views of proper gender roles in traditional Judaism, and his/her objections to women taking on what has traditionally been a male role.


  2. this is awful!! it goes against everything orthodox!! its stupid for women to become rabbis, the whole concept that women cant be rabbis and are being “held back” by a “male-dominated” religion is a huge misconception spread by the other levels of Judaism like conservatism and reformism.
    Jewish women are holier than Jewish men, always have been and always will be. The ability for a Jewish man to become a rabbi is his ONLY way to someone rival the holiness of a Jewish woman. We as women are not at a “disadvantage”, cause since Matan Torah at Har Sinai we proved over and over again that we had the greatest amount of emunah in Hashem, more so than the men.

    Any orthodox women who attend this school are SORELY misinformed and uneducated, as are the founders of this school. It is modern age feminism working its way into a religion and twisting its inner meaning and beauty.

    I am sick to my stomach


  3. If Anonymous can’t leave it’s name – that’s a travesty. If someone feels it’s awful and concept that women cant be rabbis and are being “held back” by a “male-dominated” religion is a huge misconception spread by the other levels of Judaism like conservatism and reformism.
    —- wake the %$%$ up. Orthodox Judaism does not discount one who isn’t from being a Jew………to whatever level of religiousness their desire.
    Stay sick to your stomach. Maybe a FEMALE DOCTOR – might help you.
    Mindy – Reform


  4. Actually, I’m thrilled that this seminary is opening. This may actually inspire more women to consider Orthodoxy. I imagine these women will follow the example of Devorah and serve as a judge for our people. We’ve had women serve as religious leadership positions in our faith before, and we are better for it.

    Elisheva, are you aware of the fact you wouldn’t have the freedom today to persue your academic degree without feminism? While I would certainly agree that some of the adherents of feminism have become extreme in the same way certain branches of our faith have lost the understanding of moderation, you also have to credit the positive contributions it has made on your life. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Personally, I look forward to discussing certain feminine issues with a female rabbi. There are just issues I would rather discuss with a woman. This improvement gives me this option.


  5. I’m pretty far to the right. However, women already work as teachers in Orthodox schools. This is only different because now they have a title and I guess women can’t have a title unless it’s THERAPIST?

    I agree with this. Until now, rebbetzins were the only Orhtodox women with a title. This title did not necessarily indicate a knowledgeable and observant woman. The women teaching us should be qualified to do so. This is just a way to make sure women who are teaching Judaism have been trained to do so.


  6. In response to thegreatestelishevaever. Uneducated is definitely not describing this group of women. Agree with this or not, these women and men who are backing the school are learned. They may interpret the halacha differently than others but it doesn’t mean they don’t know halacha.


  7. Yes they are incorrectly interpreting the halachot, and they also FAIL to understand the true power of Jewish woman, and are perpetrating the idea that they are being “held back”, and are therefore spreading mass stupidity. Its sad. They are uneducated and are allowing westernized views infiltrate the proper understanding of a man’s role and woman’s role in judaism.

    What comes next, women HAVE to daven 3 times a day? There are seperate roles for women and men, and women are EXCLUDED from these roles because they are special and dont NEED to do these things. This is being overlooked, forgotten and misinterpreted by these new stupid, stupid people!!!

    I am sick to my stomach. With idiots like these pretty soon true judaism will be lost


  8. Elisheva,
    The “Open Orthodoxy” is a separate issue. According to what is stated here, the women are becoming teachers and spiritual leaders. Women are already teachers and spiritual leaders.

    The woman that the Hebrew Institute has on their staff who has this title is just that, a teacher and spiritual leader. She teaches conversion classes.

    Yeshivish rabbis have women teaching the candidates. These teachers and rebbetzins are spiritual leaders. I’ll bet you don’t have a problem with a rebbetzin or Yeshivish woman teaching classes.

    These women are not rabbis. They are seminary graduates from a seminary that gives their women a title.

    If you really want to speak against feminism in the Orthodox world, you should speak against the women working as therapists. Before feminism women stayed home with the kids.

    Now, Judaism has adopted the feminism of the outside world to such an extreme that it’s actually socially unacceptable to want to be a housewife until your children go to school.


  9. Wow, a mix of varied opinions both silly and serious. You know, someday, we’ll be looking back to this moment to the annoucement of this school and I wonder if our feelings will have changed. I am speaking as feminist who is not a Jewish feminist. If the rabbis know that they are doing the correct thing by Torah, then we shall see how this will all grow.


  10. The YU Chancellor was recently asked about the ordination of female rabbis, Lamm said his opposition was “social, not religious.”

    “Change has to come to religion when feasible, but it should not be rushed. Women have just come into their own from an educational perspective. I would prefer not to have this innovation right now. It is simply too early. What will happen later… I am not a prophet.”


  11. I think “sick to her Stomach” needs MALE DOCTOR~ as woman might be inferior- especially if she is a Jew

    — and Travesty – WHO THE ???? are you


  12. This a very proud moment for Modern/Open Orthodoxy and none too soon. At a time when every day charedi Judaism takes on more of the paradigm of religious insanity, this is a glimmer of hope!


  13. Thank you, Aliza.

    You know, even one my yeshivish friends who’s a rebbetzin (eh, they’re all rebbetzins)even said that while that might be her flavor of Orthodoxy, as long as a woman keeps kosher, Shabbos and Taharas Mishpachas, she’s Orthodox.

    Although, I think there should be some level of tznius, too.


  14. A travesty. You know why because “Jewish women are holier than Jewish men, always have been and always will be.” as thegreatest… said previously. I believe that the role of a rabbi is for males only. There are things that women do by tradition that men do not do. And men are fine with them. Women tend to compete with men a lot in general. We never compete with women, we rather admire them, respect them and acknowledge that they are holier than us and that they are special beings with more emunah than us. So why break tradition?
    BTW, gidget, I have the right to say whatever I want and my opinions/comments should be respected. If you have a problem with everything I say, then take all my words and comments and drink them like pill, so I would be swimming in your stomach forever.


  15. I love anonymous comments. Endlessly entertaining.

    Kol HaKavod to the women entering this program. It’s delightful, and a real blessing from G-d, to be able to do the work you are called to do. Not everyone wants to raise a house full of kids.

    I feel truly blessed to be alive in a time where ALL learned women, sho want to apply themselves (and even daven three times a day, shocking) can do so.

    All typos do to the (still) wonky hand.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s