Movin' on up: Hartman ordaining Ortho ladies makes it to the Slate
Samantha Shapiro of the NYTimes Magazine takes the Hartman decision to ordain women as Orthodox rabbis to the pages of The Slate. (If you’ve never seen the words “achudus ha’am” and “ahavas yisrael” in a mainstream pub, here’s a chance. Also a particularly amusing cartoon of a lady rabbi.) Basically, she, like Rabbi Haviva Ner-David, questions whether this will really make a difference for Orthodox women seeking to be rabbis.
On women becoming non-rabbi spiritual leaders and law-decisors:
These strides are significant, but there’s a question of the trajectory of these quasi-rabbinic roles. A man in any of these women’s positions could expect after a few years of service to be promoted to main rabbi. It’s fairly unlikely, however, that these women’s careers will advance much further. Without an accepted orthodox rabbinic ordination, there is nowhere to be promoted to.
And, on these women’s ability to even remain within the Orthodox movement:
Women who believe so passionately in the divinity of the Torah and its laws that they want to remain in the Orthodox community have to do a difficult dance. If they get rabbinic ordination through Hartman or other institutions, they are likely to move themselves outside of the norms of their communities and not really be able to influence them as a rabbi would—and if they don’t, well, they’re still not rabbis.