IRF on Women in Positions of Congregational Leadership

The International Rabbinic Fellowship, an organization of close to 150 Modern-Orthodox rabbis gives thanks to the Almighty for the unparalleled advancement in women’s Torah education that has revolutionized and strengthened the Orthodox and broader Jewish community in untold ways in the last fifty years.

We are strongly supportive of the growing number of committed and learned women who are or would like to serve the Jewish people as educators, and in various forms of congregational and communal religious and spiritual
leadership.

The issue of expanding women’s leadership roles in the Orthodox community is one that has engendered vigorous discussion and debate. We strongly affirm the value of these debates within Orthodoxy, especially when they are held respectfully and are inclusive of all voices in our community: our rabbis, religious leaders, and laity, our men and our women.

We view as encouraging the most recent efforts to bridge gaps within various segments of modern Orthodox rabbinic leadership. In this regard we salute the Rabbinical Council of America and Rabbi Avi Weiss for working together
to strike a compromise that preserved shalom in the Orthodox community.

At the same time, we affirm that attempts to delegitimize rabbis and synagogues for the positions they take on this debate go against the spirit of respectful and meaningful conversation.

In that vein we affirm that engaging women to serve in a various forms of congregational and communal religious and spiritual leadership is in accordance with the Halacha and Orthodox practice.

Finally, we call on everyone to continue this discussion in a thoughtful and respectful manner, in a spirit of generosity and a commitment to truth and communal harmony.

4 Responses to IRF on Women in Positions of Congregational Leadership

  1. Lisa says:

    Sure, because the unilateral change on the part of the left is so respectful of their opponents.

    I heard almost the identical plea back in the early ’80s from a Reform guy giving a talk about patrilineal descent. To paraphrase:

    “We affirm that attempts to delegitimize rabbis and synagogues for the positions they take on this debate go against the spirit of respectful and meaningful conversation.

    “In that vein we affirm that recognizing the children of Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers who have gone through Jewish life cycle events as full fledged Jews in accordance with Jewish culture.

    “Finally, we call on everyone to continue this discussion in a thoughtful and respectful manner, in a spirit of generosity and a commitment to truth and communal harmony.”

    When you try to change things that affect us all unilaterally, it’s a bit hypocritical to ask others to be respectful in their opposition.

  2. Jewish News says:

    […] IRF statement on women in positions of congregational leadership: link […]

  3. […] IRF statement on women in positions of congregational leadership: link […]

  4. […] IRF statement on women in positions of congregational leadership: link […]

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