On Women Rabbis


Although I do not speak on behalf of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), 
I am a member of the RCA Executive Committee, and I voted, along with the
majority, in favor of the new RCA resolution, which was assailed in the
November 4 editorial, “What Is the RCA Afraid Of?”

The RCA prides itself on being a big tent, in which Modern Orthodox, “yeshivish” Orthodox, Chabad and other stripes of Orthodox rabbis join
together to share ideas, disseminate Torah teaching and address issues facing
Jewry and Orthodoxy in particular. The other three RCA resolutions that were
passed along with the resolution about women rabbis focused on assisting men
and women who are stuck in agunah situations, combating BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel), and speaking out
against racism. It would have been nice for this to have been noted in your
editorial, as it provides a complete picture of what the RCA is all about.

Part of the RCA’s mandate is to protect the integrity of Orthodoxy and to
perpetuate authentic Orthodox values and practice, even if contemporary
values, including egalitarianism, at times do not comport therewith. Judaism
has always been about going against the grain and taking a stand for the
Torah’s values in the face of societal opposition. This is the story of
Abraham, and it is the narrative of our people. It is and has always been the
key and mandate for the survival of our faith and our nation.

When contemporary practices, especially in the larger Orthodox or
quasi-Orthodox orbit, threaten the integrity of Torah values and practice, as
articulated by the most senior and preeminent halachic authorities, we are
called upon to take a stand, even if it may be uncomfortable.

The issue at stake is not merely one of “who is a rabbi?” but “what must we
do to fulfill our calling to preserve tradition?” It is in this vein that the
resolution was drafted and passed.