On "Who's That Woman in the Pulpit?"

This letter refers to Who's that woman in the pulpit?

Dear Mr. Rosner,

With all due respect, the omission of ANY reference in your article to the role that women have played in the religious life in other movements in Judaism - including the role of rabbi - makes it seem that this discovery on the part of the Orthodox community is novel and creative.

This movement in the Orthodox community did not happen in a vacuum and is one for which the Orthodox have criticized their co-religionists.

I particularly focus on the sentence that you wrote: "She is part of a new fashion that is getting quite a lot of attention in modern Orthodox circles in America, an offshoot of one of the few trends that are occurring almost simultaneously in America and Israel - the Orthodox women's revolution."

It would have been much more accurate both from an historical and communal perspective to make reference to events that took place over 20 years ago when the Conservative/Masorti movement made the decision to accept women into the rabbinate, as did the Reform movement a few years earlier. The educational, sociological, psychological and communal benefits of women attaining this coveted position are only now being dealt with by the Orthodox stream.

Perhaps the most important point here is that this might be a lesson to all movements to treat each other?s innovations and interpretations with less hostility and more respect, recognizing that we may some day begin to entertain the very innovations and changes that we once criticized in others!

Sincerely,Eric Segal