Sisterhood Blog

RCA: No Women Rabbis, No Matter What They're Called

By Gabrielle Birkner

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The Rabbinical Council of America, the main umbrella group for centrist Orthodox rabbis, just released its position statements, which were adopted this week at its annual conference. Here’s what the RCA had to say about women’s spiritual and executive leadership within Orthodoxy:

The flowering of Torah study and teaching by God-fearing Orthodox women in recent decades stands as a significant achievement. The Rabbinical Council of America is gratified that our chaverim [members] have played a prominent role in facilitating these accomplishments.

We members of the Rabbinical Council of America see as our sacred and joyful duty the practice and transmission of Judaism in all of its extraordinary, multifaceted depth and richness — halakhah [Jewish law] hashkafah, tradition and historical memory.

In light of the opportunity created by advanced women’s learning, the Rabbinical Council of America encourages a diversity of halakhically and communally appropriate professional opportunities for learned, committed women, in the service of our collective mission to preserve and transmit our heritage. Due to our aforesaid commitment to sacred continuity, however, we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title.

Young Orthodox women are now being reared, educated, and inspired by mothers, teachers and mentors who are themselves beneficiaries of advanced women’s Torah education. As members of the new generation rise to positions of influence and stature, we pray that they will contribute to an ever-broadening and ever-deepening wellspring of talmud Torah [Torah study], yir’at Shamayim [fear of heaven], and dikduk be-mitzvot [scrupulous observance of commandments].

Read the RCA’s other resolutions here.

And read The Sisterhood’s continuing coverage of the issue here. And check back here frequently for updates and analysis.


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