Rabbi Yuter addresses the question if a blind person can receive an aliyah, and argues for a logical comparison to women being called up to the Torah.
Category: Jewish Law / Halakha
In this installment of Politics of Exclusion Rabbi Yuter offers a general overview of the dispute between Hasidim and the Mitnagdim, focusing on the dynamics of the dispute with modern parallels.
Part of Rabbi Yuter’s Politics of Exclusion in Judaism Series, this class concludes Chapter 3 of Rambam’s Laws of Repentance, discussing the Leadership by Fear and the redemptive powers of repentance.
In this special class Rabbi Yuter discusses the parameters of Mesirah – Jews informing on other Jews to secular authorities, focusing on Talmudic sources.
Part of his Politics of Exclusion Series, Rabbi Yuter discusses Rambam’s view of Poreish Min Hatzibur – Separating oneself from the community.
In this part of his Politics of Exclusion Series, Rabbi Yuter discusses Rambam’s description of the Sadducean and Baithusian sects with its implications for today.
Rabbi Yuter leads a text based discussion covering some perspectives of how Judaism encounters Avoda Zara in the surrounding culture.
By popular request I started recording my classes. While I’m currently in the middle of a series called The Politics of Exclusion in Judaism where we define Who is a Jew by who doesn’t make the cut. We started months ago with Biblical Sources, followed up by Rabbinic sources, and we’re currently in the middle of going through Rambam’s Hilkhot Teshuva. Today’s class covered Hilkhot Teshuva 3:9, discussing Maimonides’ two types of “Rebels” which would cause a person to lose their share in the World to Come.
This past week the International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF), voted on whether or not women ought to be admitted to the organization. This was not the first time the IRF considered such a proposition. In 2008, before the advent of “Maharat” or “Rabba“, the IRF recognized that women have been functioning as religious leaders within Orthodox Judaism. In Israel women serve as “To’anot Beit Din” – advocates for women in religious courts and “Yoatzot Halakha” – halakhic consultants regarding family purity. Even without formal titles women serve as Torah educators alongside men and several synagogues employ women in some religious capacity. In fact the Jewish Learning Initiative on Campus (JLIC), under Orthodox Union (OU), sends married couples to college campuses across the country with the expectation that the wife serves the campus Jewish community alongside her rabbinic husband. Regardless of the semantics of titles – or lack thereof – Jewish women assume professional roles similar to those performed by male rabbinic counterparts and thus should not be excluded from conversations affecting the Jewish community at large based solely on gender.
When I was first confronted with this question I supported the theoretical inclusion of women into the group, even if it meant removing “Rabbinic” adjective from the organization’s name. I even submitted to a subcommittee my own proposal defining criteria for women to be treated as rabbinic colleagues given that no comparable title existed at the time.1 And yet despite my earlier positions and after hearing passionate arguments in favor of admitting women, when the IRF finally voted on including women, I voted “no”. My decision may appear at first glance to be inconsistent, dishonest, or indicative of intimidation from opposition. On the contrary, as I will explain in this essay my principles remain intact. My position is not based on the identity politics of gender but on what I perceive to be the role and function of rabbinic leadership in Judaism.