An Orthodox umbrella organization has rejected the ordination of three female clergy by a groundbreaking Bronx Orthodox rabbinical school as “contradicting the norms of our community.”
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The Rabbinical Council of America, a prominent group that serves more than 1,000 Orthodox rabbis, reacted strongly to the recent graduation of three women from Riverdale’s Yeshivat Maharat, which trains Orthodox Jewish women to become spiritual leaders.
In a statement released May 7, the RCA said it views the graduation as a violation of mesorah, or tradition.
“We feel extremely strongly that there is certainly room for women leadership within the Orthodox community, both educationally and professionally,” RCA President Rabbi Shmuel Goldin told the Forward. “We do not believe, however, that it is appropriate for women to be ordained as rabbis.”
Goldin added that he did not think the school was defying the Orthodox community but rather was “moving in ways that are removing it from the normative Orthodox community. It’s not a question of defiance, it’s a question of direction.”