Monday, February 1, 2010

A bold move during Year of the Priest cheers me up!

The headline grabbed my attention the moment I clicked open this morning's weekly digest from Tikkun Daily.

In case you don't already know, tikkun is the Hebrew word for the commitment of every Jew* to "mend, repair, and transform the world." Tikkun, the magazine, and now the daily multimedia blog has longstanding cred among spiritually progressive Jews. Heck, they're so spiritually progressive and open to interfaith rants they even cite my work. My naches, for sure.

The headline? Say Hello to the World First Female Orthodox Rabbi!

Pretty darn exciting, even after reading the fine print revealing that Rabbi Avi Weiss, founder of the Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School ("where open orthodoxy begins") may, in fact, have bestowed the title "Maharat" rather than "Rabbah" on 32-year old Sara Hurwitz.

That's okay with her because even though she cannot be part of a minyan (prayer quorum) or serve as a rabbinic witness, she can do just about everything else. She says she "functions in the same capacity as a rabbi."

In other words, she's like what the Roman Catholic church calls a deacon. And you know where I'm going with this, right? Does the Catechism of the Catholic Church's reference to Jews as "elder brethren" (CCC 63) ring a bell?

I'm sure Rabbi Weiss is getting some major flack for his bold move, which has cheered me up during this Year of the Priest. Oh that there might ever be a pope courageous enough to risk the same by welcoming women into the Roman Catholic diaconate.

*Note: A commitment I never ditched after getting baptized.


  1. Thanks for posting about this. It cheers me on a totally crappy day, including the part where women are called harpies on a blog post about womens' ordination.

    In 2006 my cousin received an honorary doctorate from his rabbinical school and I attended. It was part of the whole graduation megillah, so to speak.

    The speaker was Blu Greenberg who spoke of the pending reality of women's ordination in the Orthodox world.

    And here we are.


  2. Too lazy to look it up, Fran, but "harpies" may be one of those fine words that were twisted into a pejorative at some point in history. Y'know, like "crone" or "hag" or, gee, "virgin."

    Blu Greenberg has always had a prophetic voice among Jewish Orthodox women. Bless her. And bless us.


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