Orthodox figures from America have backed the Chief Rabbi in a row over female rabbis after a woman lost her teaching job after gaining ordination.
The Rabbinical Alliance of America, which represents 950 rabbis, voiced their support for Rabbi Mirvis after Dr Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz lost her position at the London School of Jewish Studies after graduating from the Yeshivat Maharat in New York.
The school is run under the auspices of the Chief Rabbi, who maintains that while women can take part in senior positions in religious life, being a rabbi is not open to them.
The RAA has backed Rabbi Mirvis in the dispute, saying: “Jewish
tradition takes precedence over secular values and practices,”
The Coalition for Jewish Values, which calls itself the largest Rabbinic Public Policy organisation in America, has also pledged its support with the Chief Rabbi.
“As Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Mirvis is expected to uphold fealty to Torah, and any opprobrium directed his way for his decision is inappropriate,” said CVJ’s Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer.
Rabbi Mirvis had been criticised by a number of rabbis from the Reform and Liberal traditions in the UK, who had accused him of upholding a “glass ceiling of Torah.”
Taylor-Guthartz had taught at the school for sixteen years, and had offered not to use the title of ‘rabba’ in a compromise move.
She has since called for Orthodoxy to adapt to allow women rabbis. “There is a crying need for it here,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour.
“There are many women who need to be able to talk to a woman who knows Jewish law, who can advise them, who can help them.”
In recent days, LSJS has publicly extended an olive branch to Taylor-Guthartz, telling its students that it was working to find an “acceptable” solution for all concerned.
“We continue to seek an acceptable way ahead but cannot provide a running commentary as this will only disrespect all parties concerned,” said LSJS chief executive, Joanne Greenaway.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.