Non-Congratulations to the New Non-Rabbis

Thirty years ago, in 1983 we were happy to start sending our women Jewish Studies major graduates at the University of Minnesota to train to become rabbis in the Reform movement. We told them to go out and become full head rabbis of synagogues, not assistants or educational directors. Some did. We were proud.

This week we read of the non-ordination of three females by an Orthodox institute. We sadly shake our heads and dejectedly shrug our shoulders. This is a milestone of non-progress.

This non-event is a rare mixture of chutzpah and cowardice on the part of these women and their teachers. Their mentors dared to give a "degree" and "title" to the women and yet they fearfully refrained from ordaining them with the accepted titles "rabbis" or the feminine of the term, "rabbahs" to be more grammatical.

All of this is too perplexing for our Talmudic CPU to process. Our Talmudic processing system has short-circuited and crashed and cannot analyze this conflicted non-event any further.

Hence we can at best non-extend our non-congratulations to the new women non-rabbis.  We heartily offer our non-applause to them on their non-ordinations.What a bewildering religion.

Here is the story from JTA.
(JTA) — Yeshivat Maharat, which trains Orthodox Jewish women to be religious leaders, held its first graduation ceremony.

Ruth Balinsky Friedman, Rachel Kohl Feingold and Abby Brown Schier graduated Sunday in a ceremony in New York City attended by some 500 people.
The graduates are set to work for Orthodox synagogues and institutions.

Maharat is a Hebrew acronym for Manhiga Hilkhatit Rukhanit Toranit, or leader in legal, spiritual and Torah matters.

Each graduate of the New York yeshiva will use the title of maharat rather than rabbi or rabba — the title given to Sarah Hurwitz, the dean of Yeshivat Maharat, when she was ordained by Rabbi Avi Weiss.

The movement to confer religious authority on women in the Orthodox community, which began in 2009, remains controversial in the Orthodox community.

Last month, the Rabbinical Council of America reissued a 2010 statement that said, “We cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title.”

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