"The introduction of women into the field of halachic rulings could lead to renewed thinking in many areas and to a revival, expansion and rejuvenation of the world of Halacha," Rabbi Yehuda Gilad, head of the Maale Gilboa yeshiva and a Religious Kibbutz Movement rabbi said Monday.
Speaking at the Kolech – Religious Women's Voice sixth annual conference, Rabbi Gilad explained that since women have not been involved in the field till recently, they are not bound by halachic traditions and can offer innovative solutions.
"Tradition is undoubtedly an important thing. One cannot speak about Jewish life without tradition. However, we all feel that there are tings in religious life that are no longer relevant and that are out of touch with reality," said Gilad.
The rabbi warned that because of their new and still unstable status, women might prove to be either too conformist or too daring and defiant in their rulings. Nevertheless, he concluded that "this is the right thing to do."
'Family planning a must'
Another speaker at the conference, head of Midreshet Lindenbaum for girls Malka Puterkovsky, addressed the issue of family planning in religious society, and said: "There is a place in Jewish law, and I believe it is a privilege rather than a duty, for every couple to plan their family."
According to Puterkovsky, postponing the first pregnancy and ensuring a gap between each birth are "the number one obligation in Halacha." She criticized rabbis who avoid discussing the subject and said, "Those who withhold the fact that this is halachically possible, violate the mitzvoth of the Torah… they deny information that is critical to a couple's life and commit the sin of standing idly by the blood of thy neighbor."
Puterkovsky said that the present reality in which teens are encouraged to "marry young and start having children immediately," was terrible in her view. "If we don't open this up to public debate, we will pay social and human prices, and this is already happening today."