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Jewish Law

Come, Join Us

I remember my excitement upon hearing about Yeshivat Maharat’s  ordination of women. As a supporter of female Jewish leadership in all of its forms, I was thrilled at the idea. Evidently, Jessica Cavanagh-Melhado, a contributor to JWA’s blog, felt the same way. In June 2013, she wrote a piece entitled, We Begin to Become a Multitude. In the piece, she describes her experience attending the first ever ordination of women as open Orthodox female spiritual leaders. 

Sara Hurwitz

Upon becoming the first Modern Orthodox woman rabbi ordained in the United States, Sara Hurwitz took on the title “Rabba.”

Holy Glass Ceiling

On June 13th, 2013, three women graduated from the Yeshivat Maharat and were ordained with the title of maharat, or female spiritual leader. Even then, the Rabbinic Counsel of America (RCA) refused to recognize these women as part of the Orthodox Rabbinate. This is a two steps forward, one step back situation. 

Pop(e)ular

Religious leaders aren’t normally considered cool by teenagers, but Pope Francis is most definitely an exception. As a teenager myself, I can say that the Catholic Church was not at all on my radar until he started making waves. 

Dress Code or Stress Code?

I never really understood the purpose of the dress code. Was it for religious reasons? Was it to protect our male classmates from possible distraction from their studies? Was it for both reasons? I found it extremely degrading that I felt pressured to be ashamed of my body. 

Can Feminism and Orthodox Judaism Coexist? I Say Yes.

Growing up as the oldest of three girls, I have always been taught that my position in the Jewish community is an important one. I was taught that when I grow up I’ll get the opportunity to be an active participant within my Jewish community. 

Babatha

Spirited and determined, Babatha repeatedly fought for her rights in court, showing the differences between the ideal world of the Mishnah and the real lives of second century Jews.

Joseph Dov Soloveitchik

As the rosh yeshiva (religious head) of Yeshiva University from 1941–1985 and chief legal decisor for Modern Orthodox Jews in America, Joseph Dov Soloveitchik shaped Jewish practice and public opinion through the era of second-wave feminism.

Rivka Haut, 1942 - 2014

I came to know Rivka over forty years ago, through the learned book that her husband, Rabbi Irwin Haut, wrote about the agunah problem. Whether she influenced him to write or whether his work inducted her into the world of agunah activism, I do not know, but she became increasingly passionate about helping agunot, hands on as well as dealing with the theoretical-halakhic issues.

Judith Plaskow

Judith Plaskow created a new Jewish feminist theology through her scholarly masterwork, Standing Again at Sinai.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jewish Law." (Viewed on June 22, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/jewish-law>.

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