June 12, 2012
Israeli Chief Rabbinical Council OKs eulogies by women
Israel’s Chief Rabbinical Council ruled that woman can deliver eulogies at funerals, but that it is up to the community rabbi to decide on a case-by-case basis.
The ruling was issued last week in response to a request by Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat, head of a Knesset committee on women’s activity in the public domain, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
Sephardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar, head of the council along with Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, did not participate in the decision and has not expressed a clear opinion on the issue, according to Haaretz.
In January, Israel’s Religious Services Ministry told burial societies in the country that women may deliver eulogies. The ministry sent a directive to this effect to the more than 600 burial societies throughout the country.
Israel’s Supreme Court in 2006 ruled that women should be allowed to deliver eulogies and that the burial societies, or chevra kadisha, should not impose gender segregation in the cemetery. The ruling was in response to an incident in Petach Tikvah in which a woman was stopped from eulogizing her father. The court’s ruling was not backed up by the Religious Services Ministry until this year.