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Barbara Sofer – The Human Spirit

“Don’t Call Me Rabbi”

Jerusalem Post –  23/10/2015

wihl first grad
Photo: Gershon Ellinson

An Orthodox woman has studied Talmud and Jewish law for five years and has passed the stringent tests for rabbis written by the tough Israeli rabbinical authorities. She has taken courses in psychology, rhetoric and spiritual counseling. She is determined to use her knowledge and talents to serve the Jewish people. She is well informed with ideas about contemporary religious challenges.

What to call such a highly qualified person is a quandary for the Orthodox world. A few women in Jewish history reached the hallowed heights of scholarship – Bruria, Yalta, Menucha Rochel, Nechama Leibowitz. These distinguished women received their education at home in families where there were no limits on education.

But now, instead of a rare woman or two, we have a program that has the potential to prepare tens and hundreds of pious and gifted women for new roles within the Jewish world.
Four such outstanding women recently graduated from Midreshet Lindenbaum’s Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute for Halakhic Leadership (WIHL), part of Ohr Torah Stone. The four graduates have completed the comprehensive curriculum for aspiring rabbis, in addition to professional courses in spiritual counseling. They are qualified to make a ruling with halachic authority about whether the proverbial chicken is kosher and, more important, if an abusive husband can be denied an honor in synagogue, or if a woman has to tell her fiancé that she has herpes.  Click to read the full article on the Jerusalem Post website… 


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