High Court Rules Woman is Allowed to Help Select City’s Chief Rabbi

Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Tel Aviv City Council on Monday to allow a woman on the council to serve on the committee that chooses the city’s chief rabbis.

The order was the second in the past four days to chip away at the Orthodox religious establishment’s exclusion of women from meaningful participation in religious affairs. The high court ruled last Thursday that a woman may sit on local religious councils.

Both rulings were hailed by liberal and women’s groups throughout the country. Mayor Shlomo Lehat of Tel Aviv welcomed the court’s decision.

The office of Ashkenazic chief rabbi in Tel Aviv is presently vacant. A leading candidate, Chief Rabbi Yisrael Lau of Netanya, has said in the past he would not accept the post if a woman sat on the committee that appointed him.

But Lau may have relented. He hinted in a television interview Monday that he might suggest to the Chief Rabbinate that it obey the court’s ruling.

The ruling involves only the one-third of the committee members who are appointed by the municipality. The other two-thirds are selected by the rabbinate.

NEXT STORY