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IRF Statement Congratulating Graduates of Yeshivat Maharat

Thursday, May 9, 2013

IRF Statement Congratulating Graduates of Yeshivat Maharat

The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) extends its congratulations and good wishes to the first three graduates of Yeshivat Maharat. We wish these talented women success and berakhah in their work on behalf of klal yisrael.

These women represent another significant model for how Orthodox women can serve their communities and klal Yisrael. These graduates of Yeshivat Maharat take their place alongside the Toanaot Beit Din who work in Israeli rabbinic courts, the Yoatzot Halakha who advise women regarding hilkhot niddah, and the graduates of Yeshiva University’s GPATS program who teach Torah and engage in pastoral duties within congregations and schools.

We note with pride those Orthodox women who received, and are receiving, advanced Torah educations, degrees and certifications at Drisha, Matan, Pardes, Nishmat, the Jewish Women’s Halakhic Leadership Program at Midreshet Lindenbaum, the Advanced Program in Talmud and Halacha at Migdal Oz, the Advanced Halakha Program for Women at Beit Morasha and an ever expanding list of seminaries, midrashot, and batei midrash. They form a cohort of talmidot hakhamim whose Torah scholarship and religious guidance are an indispensable resource for our community.

We hope this graduation will serve as a catalyst for serious thinking and discussion within the Modern-Orthodox community regarding the diverse ways that women exercise leadership within our community and how those leadership opportunities can be expanded and supported. We welcome these conversations and look forward to engaging in them. As we indicated in our official statement in 2010:

We express our support for the sincere desire of the graduates of these learning programs to contribute their spiritual talents to the Jewish people as teachers, spiritual guides and mentors. We also affirm the dedication and sacrifice of so many women in our community, and their desire to serve their congregations and their people in formal leadership capacities, while affirming the specific areas that Halakha delimits.

We strongly encourage communities and their rabbinic leaders to create opportunities to discuss this important phenomenon in an open and reflective manner, in order to enable continuing progress in a spirit of shalom and communal harmony.

The full text of our 2010 statement can be accessed at:

http://www.internationalrabbinicfellowship.org/irf-statement-womens-leadership-roles