My first entry is an article on the first female rabbi, called a “rabba” in Orthodox Judaism from the Wall Street Journal, Not Everybody Is Ready for an Orthodox Rabba. It is not a blog per se, but it is interesting.
Enthusiastic applause greeted Sara Hurwitz when she stepped to the podium last month to address a gathering of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance in New York. Two months earlier, Ms. Hurwitz's mentor, Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, had given her the title of "rabba," or female rabbi, making her the most visible woman to join the Orthodox clergy. "The community is inspired, electrified and supportive of women functioning in rabbinic roles," Rabba Hurwitz told the audience. That support, however, is far from universal.
In February the Agudath Israel of America, an ultra-Orthodox organization, blasted Rabba Hurwitz's title as a "radical and dangerous departure from Jewish tradition" that "must be condemned in the strongest terms." Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz warned, "We cannot allow someone whose guide is 20th century feminism . . . to hijack and attempt to redefine Orthodoxy."
It is interesting that Orthodox Judaism has some of the same issues that mainline Protestantism (and increasingly Roman Catholicism) has in regard to the role of women.
This is an issue I run into on a regular basis. I find myself in agreement with a number of people on the need for real Reformation in the church but I find that sometimes it goes overboard. Replace the professional clergy with a real priesthood of all believers? Yeah! Quit spending so much money on buildings and programs and spend more on carrying out the work of the Gospel? Yeah! Recognize women as elders in the church? Um, hang on. The difference is that while there is no hint of a professional clergy or capital campaigns to add million dollar additions to church buildings or reducing the church to an hour of theater in Scriptures, the Bible does speak frequently and clearly on gender roles.
I think that this is an area that a lot of religious groups struggle with, the struggle between what ancient writings describe and what modern society demands. I don’t see that capitulating to the culture has ever had a positive impact, especially among Christians where gender roles are determined not by tradition but by Scripture. In gender roles as in the church and in justification and all other issues, Selectiva Sola Scriptura, the Scriptures I selective choose alone, we are not given the luxury of cherry picking which parts of Scripture we will and which we will not choose to follow.