Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Female Halachic Advisors

From the Jerusalem Post:
The delicate balance between tradition and modernity is shifting in Orthodox circles, as women continue to maintain classic roles of motherhood and deference to rabbinic hegemony, while at the same time achieving recognition for their intellectual abilities in religious fields that were once male domains.

The restriction on Nishmat has been lifted permanently.

This trend was apparent on Sunday evening as Nishmat, a Jerusalem-based Orthodox institution that certifies women to act as halachic advisers on specific issues, lifted a 10-year restriction that had been put in place on their certifications'

Nishmat was careful to call the women "advisers," not "rabbis," and the certification given to the women was issued for 10 years, at the end of which the women were to be reevaluated.

These steps deflected potential criticism coming from more conservative elements within Orthodoxy, especially in the rabbinic establishment, who were concerned that feminist trends were seeking to undermine tradition.

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