I am sitting on a panel tomorrow night with some of my esteemed female colleagues for a discussion about female spiritual leaders in the Orthodox community. (Beyond the Glass Ceiling: New Orthodox Leadership Roles for Women.) I know that the question of title will come up. While I believe that the job – functioning as a spiritual leader, connecting with people, having the opportunity to teach Torah to others—is of primary importance, title is relevant. It has been almost 7 months since the initiation of the title Mahara”t, and I am curious to hear people’s reactions now to the title. I am still not sure if Mahara”t is simply a place holder for another more rabbi sounding title, like “rabah” or even “rabbi,” or if it has come to mean Rabbi, and thus will stick. I know that for at least the people in my community, the title seems to carry with it some significance. It has been easier for me to appropriately respond and act in a rabbinic role, as people have associated the title with a certain level of scholarship and authority. We have even called the new school that will ordain Orthodox women as rabbis “Yeshivat Mahara”t.” At first, the criticism from the left was that we were capitulating to political pressure and selling ourselves short. Anything less than Rabbi would not do. And yet, on the other hand, the title Mahara”t has allowed women from both ends of the Orthodox spectrum to dream, even realistically consider pursuing a path of religious spiritual leadership. What do you think the future holds? Is the Orthodox community more likely to hire and accept Mahara”ts as their spiritual leaders? Or is the only legitimate path to advocate for women to be called rabbis?
RECENT POSTS ON Morethodoxy
The Dilemma Facing Israeli American Jews
The Jewish Value of Decentralized Power -by Rabbi Hyim Shafner
And the Lord God said, “You’re not about sex”
The Waning Moon of Elul
There’s Enough Room in the Heart.
My brethren in Gaza by Rabbi Hyim Shafner
Is It All in a Name?
October 15, 2009 | 10:15 am
PUT YOUR AD HERE
Trending Blog Posts
Dwelling in divine providence: An introduction to Sukkot for 2015 / 5776SHARES
Funny…You Don’t Look 106!SHARES
Yom Kippur Guide 5776 / 2015: Forgive and be ForgivenSHARES
“You’re a Member of a What?!”SHARES
Torah Animals and Death Practices: The Scapegoat, the Red Heifer, and the Broken-necked HeiferSHARES
Do you Blush? Our Inner Light as Spiritual Animals!SHARES