Rachel Keren. 'Shatter the glass ceiling'

Orthodox community chooses title for female rabbi

Participants of Kolech conference decide on title for ordained female rabbi. And the winner is: Rabba. Chairwoman of Kolech's board of directors: We will appeal Hebrew Language Academy to make word official

The Religious Women's Forum Kolech decided at their conference last week to choose a Hebrew title for a woman ordained as a rabbi by an Orthodox institution, although no woman in Israel yet holds this position.


The title chosen by a majority of conference participants is "rabba."


A few months ago, a woman was ordained by the Orthodox rabbinate in the United States and was given the title "maharat" – an acronym for the Hebrew words spiritual, Halacha, and Torah teacher.


The decision to create a name for the controversy-loaded position in Israel grew out of a desire to encourage women to strive to reach such a level in their Torah learning.


"The women's learning revolution has existed for quite some time," said Rachel Keren, chairwoman of Kolech's Board of Directors, to Ynet. "Women are advancing in Torah study, but there is a glass ceiling hindering their advancement. The glass ceiling was already shattered in the course for female halachic advisors and on the issue of female legal counselors, but still hasn't been shattered in the field of rabbis and religious judges. This issue is of prime importance.


"There is a threefold interest that this ceiling is shattered – the interest of the woman who wants to advance and gain recognition, a societal interest, and the interest of the Torah world that there be as many Torah studiers as possible. By choosing a title, we wanted to raise public awareness to this need. We believed that the public discourse (on the subject) would encourage women to continue learning."


Now that a decision was made on the title, the women of Kolech intend to discuss making the word official with the Academy of the Hebrew Language.


During deliberations at the conference, other names that came as options were "maharat," "rav," and "hachama" or wise.


"Cooperation with the Hebrew Language Academy is very important," explained Keren. "There is a need for this word, and the roll of the Academy is to fill this need. We just now approached them, and they are very pleased by the initiative."


פרסום ראשון: 07.19.09, 19:11
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