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2015-11-06 digital edition

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November 6, 2015  RSS feed
Just a Nosh

Text: T T T

Just a nosh...

Orthodox group officially bans ordination and hiring of women rabbis

The Rabbinical Council of America, the main modern Orthodox rabbinical group, formally adopted a policy prohibiting the ordination or hiring of women rabbis. The policy announced Oct. 30 came after a direct vote of its membership, according to the organization.

The resolution states: “RCA members with positions in Orthodox institutions may not ordain women into the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title used; or hire or ratify the hiring of a woman into a rabbinic position at an Orthodox institution; or allow a title implying rabbinic ordination to be used by a teacher of Limudei Kodesh (religous studies) in an Orthodox institution.”

This resolution does not concern or address nonrabbinic positions such as Yoatzot Halacha (advisers on Jewish law), community scholars, Yeshiva University’s Graduate Program for Women in Advanced Talmudic Study, and non-rabbinic school teachers, the resolution concludes. “So long as no rabbinic or ordained title such as “Maharat” is used in these positions, and so long as there is no implication of ordination or a rabbinic status, this resolution is inapplicable.”

Maharat is an acronym meaning female spiritual, legal and Torah leader. It is a designation granted by Yeshivat Maharat, an institution for women in Riverdale, NY, founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss.

Reform movement passes far-reaching resolution affirming transgender rights

The Reform movement, the largest in American Judaism, passed what is being called the most extensive resolution on transgender rights of any major religious organization.

The “Resolution on the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People” passed by voice vote on Thursday, Nov. 5, at the Union for Reform Judaism’s biennial conference in Orlando. There was no opposition to the proposal.

“This resolution is a reflection of our Movement’s long-standing values of inclusion within our communities and that all individuals are created b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image,” Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, said in a statement. “We hope it will inspire us to be even more audaciously hospitable. This is about celebrating and welcoming transgender people and is another step toward full inclusion.”

After the resolution passed, most of the thousands of conference-goers who attended the vote rose for a standing ovation, The Associated Press reported.

The resolution affirms the movement’s commitment to the “full equality, inclusion and acceptance of people of all gender identities and gender expressions.” It calls on Reform congregations, congregants, clergy, camps, institutions and affiliates, including the NFTY youth group, to refer to transgender individuals by their name and gender of choice and to advocate for the rights of people of all gender identities, including gender-neutral bathrooms and using gender-neutral labels. The resolution also calls on Reform institutions to review their use of language in prayers, forms and policies, as well as to call on institutions to create ritual, programmatic and educational materials “that will empower such institutions to be more inclusive and welcoming of people of all gender identities and expressions.”

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