Religion, Sex & Gender

Much Ado About Gornisht

There was so much fanfare about whether or not Haviva Ner-David is the first female Orthodox Rabbi.  Would she be accepted by the community? Is her ordination truly ordination as a rabbi?
But there is another problem.  As Ner-David explained to the Jerusalem Post, and reiterated in her comment on the Canonist, Ner-David herself does not consider herself Orthodox, never mind an Orthodox rabbi.
So what is the story, then? That a woman became a non-Orthodox rabbi? Or that a non-Orthodox woman became a non-Orthodox rabbi, but would like to see Orthodox female rabbis? Or is it that Ner-David is—go figure—not actually Orthodox?
In the Conservadox Orthodox left, the mechitza is swaying.  The mechitza is shaking.
But the mechitza holds.

11 thoughts on “Much Ado About Gornisht

  1. The significance is that a non-Orthodox woman would rather be a non-denominational rabbi with Orthodox semicha than be a Conservative rabbi.
    It’s rather akin to Steve Greenberg’s status as an Orthodox gay rabbi. People who are on the halachic borders don’t see any upside to leaving Orthodoxy for another movement, in large part because Conservative Judaism offers even fewer resources when it comes to dealing with the halachic borderlands.

  2. ” …a non-Orthodox woman would rather be a non-denominational rabbi with Orthodox semicha than be a Conservative rabbi.”
    Precisely. Or, perhaps she felt drawn to Strikovsky as a teacher. Or both.
    And it turns out that she isn’t even the first.
    Perhaps she feels that, even though she may consider herself to be post-denominational, she can be a catalyst for change by receving smicha from an Orthodox rabbi. In any case, I’m getting tired of hearing about this, as well as of her histrionics. She is; she isn’t. He said this; she said that. Genug.

  3. Hence the problem is that the Conservative movement is not a welcome place for those who ideologically are Conservative. Kelsey raises a good point, although not a surprise to me. I haven’t seen Ner-David at Shira Hadasha in a long time. She mentioned in her book she went to Reform Kol HaNeshama a lot.

  4. Why is everyone so hung up about he word orthodox? Lets face it, its only been around for 100 years. She is a God fearing Jew who believes she is obligated by the Halacha and she recieved Semicha. Its a special moment, no doubt.

  5. Lots of God-fearing Jewish women who believe themselves to be obligated by halacha have already received semicha (to the extent that anything given out in our post-Sanhedrin world is really semicha). Sure, their understanding of halacha differs from the understanding in Meah Shearim, but so does Ner-David’s.

  6. Yes, BZ. All Orthodox Jews who don’t accept female Orthodox Rabbis are mentally and spiritually in line with Meah Shearim.

  7. If your point was to show that you paint all Orthodox Jews who don’t buy into your egalitairan principals have an enclave mentality, then it most certainly does.

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