London Orthodox School Drops Teacher Because She Was Ordained as a Rabbi

The move is connected to the position of British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the school’s president, against rabbinical ordination for women, school employees say

JTA
Cnaan Liphshiz
Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz speaks at the Greenbelt Festival in the UK, 2016.
Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz speaks at the Greenbelt Festival in the UK, 2016. Credit: Screenshot / Youtube
JTA
Cnaan Liphshiz

An Orthodox Jewish school in London ended its relationship with an educator following her rabbinical ordination.

The London School of Jewish Studies revoked the honorary title of research fellow from Rabbi Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz in connection with her attending and graduating from the Yeshivat Maharat Orthodox egalitarian rabbinical school in New York, an employee of the British school confirmed to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. The position was nonsalaried.

The Jewish Chronicle of London first reported the move last week.

The action is connected to the position of British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the school’s president, against rabbinical ordination for women, school employees said. It’s an issue that has become increasingly divisive in Modern Orthodox circles in Europe as an increasing number of women press for starting rabbinical studies and adding duties in Jewish communities where many believe the role should be reserved for men.

Taylor-Guthartz, 61, who has taught at the school for 16 years, had been warned of the move to remove her title, one school employee said. She was not an employee but worked there as a freelancer, employees said, and is still scheduled to teach two more classes.

“The decision is regrettable, but I am determined to continue to teach Torah across the community to everyone who is eager to learn,” she told The Chronicle.

The school provides adult educational courses and training to the Jewish community, as well as rabbinical instruction.

Its chair, Gary Phillips, said: “I would like to thank Dr Taylor-Guthartz for her many years of service and we wish her all the best for the future. She is a wonderful teacher who will be much missed by both her students and colleagues at the college.”

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