Backing down on ‘rabba’

To the Editor:

It is sad that in the very week of another pioneering JOFA conference, one of the strongest defenders of rights for women in the Orthodox community should have been cowed into submission. Rabbi Weiss, ever a resolute leader, who was prepared to stand up to Soviet authorities when others thought him too confrontational, has not been able to stand up to his own colleagues over the title to be given to women completing a parallel rabbinical program to that of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah.

As in the case of a real solution to freeing agunot, when it comes to the rights of women, it is always the women who must wait while the halachic authorities retreat. While I don’t particularly like the title rabba, and think that similar to professor or doctor, rav should not be a gendered term, at least the title rabba is an honest one and does not have the awkwardness of maharat.

Rela Mintz Geffen
Philadelphia

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