I haven’t read this whole article yet…I just wanted to post this quickly before Shabbat, so I can come back to a host of comments from the Israeli Jewliciousers Saturday night. (That is, if anyone comments on my posts anymore, which isn’t a given, apparently.)
In the article “For the Sake of Righteous Women,” the Jerusalem Post announced that an Orthodox woman has earned the title of rabbi.
Haviva Ner-David is an Orthodox feminist who has been a leader of some of the most prominent struggles in Jewish women’s lives. Just before Pessah, she received her PhD in Jewish studies from Bar-Ilan University. And then, on the eve of Pessah, Ner-David was ordained as a rabbi in Jerusalem.
Ner-David, who has journeyed through feminism, Judaism and social action for the betterment of the status of Jewish women, admits that she is still not completely aware of the tremendous significance of these two events. She knows that some Orthodox Jews will not accept her ordination and will not acknowledge her religious and social status as a rabbi.
Yet this young and quiet resident of Baka and mother of five says she is neither hesitant nor frustrated: the dream she began to cherish some 12 years ago is coming true. “I am not the same woman I was at the beginning of this 12-year journey,” she says reflectively. I have discovered a lot about myself and what it means to be a woman rabbi at the beginning of the 21st century.”
For anyone in touch with the Orthodox community in Israel, this comes as no real surprise. Over the past several years, Ner-David has had her name in the media many times for her simultaneous commitment to Orthodoxy and feminism. It has been a long road, and Ner-David has taken a path that few of us, for all our feminism or commitment to Judaism, would undertake.
And now the journey’s not over. Undoubtedly, her path will be obstructed by those who think she’s not qualified to make halakhic decisions, or that she is ineligible because she’s a woman. But whether you accept this ordination or not, it marks a great academic achievement for Ner-David, and I hope that before the contentiousness of the Orthodox community rallies in protest, she will be able to revel in what she’s accomplished.