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Maharat Ordination Not Kosher, Says RCA

Maharat Ordination Not Kosher, Says RCA

While encouraging advanced learning of halacha for Orthodox women, the Rabbinical Council of America says the upcoming ordination of three women at Yeshiva Maharat in Riverdale is a “violation of our mesorah (tradition).”

The umbrella group for 1,000 rabbis in North America, Israel and elsewhere released a statement Tuesday saying “we cannot accept either the ordination of women or the recognition of women as members of the Orthodox rabbinate, regardless of the title.”

The graduation is scheduled for Sunday, June 16th, at the Ramaz School on the Upper East Side. The Maharat yeshiva was founded by Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Rabbi Weiss could not be reached for comment at press time.

The invitation to the event says it will celebrate “the ordination as clergy of our first three graduates,” Ruth Balinsky Freedman, Rachel Kohl Finegold and Abby Brown Scheier.

In 2009, Rabbi Weiss granted smicha to Sara Hurwitz, giving her the title raba, in contradiction of Orthodox norms. Raba Hurwitz is now the dean of Yeshiva Maharat.

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