Chief Rabbinate Threatens to Halt Semichah If Forced to Train Women

The building of the Religious Council and the Chief Rabbinate of Israel in Yerushalayim. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The Chief Rabbinate last week threatened to halt semichah for all new Rabbanim if the High Court forced it to train women as rabbis, in a blatant move against Halachah.

The statement followed a petition filed by women and women’s groups. In response to the petition, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said that the state was in favor of the move, but noted that “the current circumstances by which the Chief Rabbinate is handling the [ordaining] process, place legal hurdles” in the move’s way.

The state, Mandelblit said, will work to establish an alternative set of rabbinical exams that will be open to women.

The Rabbinate, obviously, rejected the idea outright, saying there is “no place” for female rabbis, and that it is a violation of Halachah and mesorah.

Sephardic Chief Rabbi Harav Yitzchak Yosef, who presides over the Chief Rabbinate, has reportedly instructed the relevant professional bodies within the establishment to mount every possible objection to the move.

Halachah and mesorah that the Rabbinate is tasked with preserving do not allow women to serve as rabbis,” the Chief Rabbinate said in a statement.

It further warned that “if there is a legal directive that would require us to ordain women as rabbis in violation of Halachah, the rabbinical ordination system, as a whole, will cease its operations until the proper legislation regulating this issue is in place.”

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