OU – Barring Women Clergy

 

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http://forward.com/news/362043/orthodox-union-adopts-policy-barring-women-clergy/

 

Exclusive: Orthodox Union Adopts New Policy Barring Women Clergy

 

The Orthodox Union has adopted a new policy barring women from serving as clergy at its 400 member congregations across the United States.

At least four synagogues that are members of the Orthodox Union currently employ women in clergy roles.

A new rabbinic ruling by seven leading Modern Orthodox rabbis — adopted as official OU policy at a board meeting on February 1 — concludes that “a woman should not be appointed to serve in a clergy position.”

The ruling bars women from holding a title such as “rabbi,” or even from serving without title in a role in which she would be performing clergy functions, such as regularly leading services, delivering sermons, ruling on matters of religious law, or officiating at weddings and funerals.

The OU publicly released its statement on the policy and the rabbinic ruling shortly after the Forward first posted this story.

“We have received a number of requests from member synagogues and their lay leadership and or rabbinic leadership for halachic guidance in this area,” said Allen Fagin, executive vice president of the OU. Fagin said that the OU had, in turn, requested the rabbinical ruling. He said that while the ruling bars women from clergy jobs, it encourages women to take other synagogue leadership roles.

News of the new policy drew immediate condemnation from rabbis and leaders on the Modern Orthodox left.

 “The OU should stick to tuna fish,” said Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld, spiritual leader of Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue in Washington, D.C., an OU congregation that employs a female clergy member, Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman. (In addition to its role as a synagogue umbrella group, the OU runs the largest kosher certification agency in the world.)

It’s not clear what the OU will do about member synagogues that currently employ female clergy. The OU statement says that the OU’s Synagogue Standards Commission will “enter into a dialogue with synagogues to encourage and facilitate implementation” of the rabbinic ruling.

Fagin said that it was the OU’s “really strong hope” that congregations that currently have female clergy would not split from the OU. “Part of our responsibility here, together with our shuls, is to try to find common ground in those small number of instances where there may be the need for further thought,” he said.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Jewish Fundamentalism and the Subjugation of Women – Satmar

 

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Satmar Decree Bars Women From ‘Dangerous’ College Education

http://forward.com/news/breaking-news/348328/satmar-decree-bars-women-from-dangerous-college-education/

Hasidic rabbis from the Satmar sect reportedly have issued a decree barring women from pursuing higher education.

The Yiddish-language decree says college education for girls is “dangerous” and “against the Torah,” and that “no girls attending our school are allowed to study and get a degree,” The Independent online newspaper based in Britain reported Tuesday.

According to the Independent, the decree was issued by Satmar leaders in New York and applies to members of the sect worldwide.

 

Responding to the report, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said in a statement, according to UK’s Jewish News: “The mainstream Jewish community would certainly reject this view. Both Jewish girls and boys should all have the opportunity to go to university if that is what they want to do.”

The Satmar decree said the sect’s schools will not hire women “who’ve been to college or have a degree.”

“We have to keep our school safe and we can’t allow any secular influences in our holy environment. It is against the base upon which our [institution] was built,” the decree said.

Satmar is the largest sect of haredi Orthodox Jews in the United Kingdom, according to the Independent, which said the country’s haredi Orthodox population is estimated at 30,000.

Ultra-Orthodox Resorting to Violence over Prayer at the Western Wall

 

Are we really to believe that we are any better than fundamentalists from any religion?

The above video is of an Ultra-Orthodox man ripping up a Prayer Book to Protest Western Wall Bat Mitzvah. Is this not what we have so many times condemned the fundamentalists of other religions for doing? Are we any better?

Non-Orthodox Jews Give up on Western Wall Compromise, Sue Israeli Government

Read more: http://forward.com/news/israel/344670/non-orthodox-jews-give-up-on-western-wall-compromise-sue-israeli-government/#ixzz4EJ5Lpm30

According to the agreement, the new section, to be known as Ezrat Israel (the section for all of Israel), was to have been established to the south of the main Kotel Plaza, in an area popularly known as Robinson’s Arch. Furthermore, to symbolize the equality between the sections, a new, unified entrance to all three areas, was to be constructed.

But since the government’s decision, which passed despite the opposition of the ultra-Orthodox parties in Netanyahu’s coalition, these parties have been pressuring the government to pull out of the agreement. They warn of “bloodshed” if the government continues to ignore the incitement against them. In June, speaking on an Israeli radio station Rabbi Avigdor Nebenzahl, rabbi of the Old City, declared that “there cannot be any compromise with the Reform,” and called upon the entire ultra-Orthodox public to “prevent the Reform from desecrating our holy spaces.”

Also in June, Rabbi Amar, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem, held a protest prayer at the area marked for the egalitarian worship, and put up a separation between men and women. With tears in his eyes, he denounced the planned new plaza as an “unforgivable wrong” and promised to be “vigilant” in the face of the “desecration” of the Western Wall.

In past weeks, ultra-Orthodox protestors have attacked liberal worshippers several times, as police stood by. Last week, during prayers by Women of the Wall, a women’s group that prays in the women’s section but, in contradiction with ultra-Orthodox custom, prays aloud, a man dressed in ultra-Orthodox garb publicly and gleefully tore apart one of their prayer books

Anti-Zionist Haredi Jews – A Religious Hypocrisy

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Do the Haredim Present a Problem with the Argument that Anti-Zionism is also Anti-Semitisim

Lost Messiah, May 15, 2016

Addressing the whole leftwing antisemitism/anti-Zionism elision, Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the UK, wrote recently in the Telegraph that Zionism “is a noble and integral part of Judaism” and that anyone suggesting otherwise is being “deeply insulting” to the Jewish community. There is a problem here. Where does this leave many of the Haredim?

 

We have written before on the comparison between the cultist fundamentalist Haredim to their cousins, the extremist Muslims, with the exception being that the Jewish counterpart tend not to like to explode things, setting a man on fire notwithstanding. We have commented on the hypocrisy of the Haredim who live in Israel and live off of the work of other Jews (and others) without compunction. We have admonished the Haredi fundamentalists who live in a small state with enemies at every possible corner, just waiting to destroy them, and yet refuse to serve in an army that protects them. The following, an opinion piece in The Guardian is written by Giles Fraiser who attempts to explain what to him appears an antithesis in that Haredim are themselves Jews and believe themselves to be the truest form of Judaism. We tend to disagree. We do not view the anti-Zionist Haredim as Jews but rather as a cult who have bastardized Judaism rather than purified it.

In our view, the anti-Zionist Haredim living in Israel are the greatest danger to the State of Israel and to Judaism as a whole. They set a world stage for the destruction of the State of Israel – for if our own people do not believe in its existence, why should the rest of the world? We believe that fundamentalist anti-Zionist Haredim provide a strong argument for fundamentalist Muslims to justify the wholesale acts of terrorism, not only in Israel but in countries like Belguim, France and England, killing Jews and non-Jews alike. For the rest of us are Heretics, whether Jews or Arabs, or anything else for that matter, why not slaughter us? Finally, in our view they provide a solid argument for any anti-Semitic hatred – if we can’t love and respect one another than are we better than the worst of mankind?

As we see it, the anti-Israel Haredim have no business living in a country they would not defend. The rest of our children go off into the army and defend Israel’s borders at the risk of peril. Why should our secular and non-fundamentalist observant children be defending the children of those who are wholly unwilling to do the same?  The ultra-Orthodox fundamentalist Haredim should be reminded that were Israel’s borders to be breached by those wanting to toss every Israeli into the sea, their children would drown too.

 

We leave this discussion for you to ponder.  A portion of The Guardian piece to follow.

For Haredi Jews secular Zionism remains a religious heresy

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“Haredi theology began as a reaction to the 18th century Jewish enlightenment, the Haskalah, a movement that aimed at the modernisation of Jewish culture in Europe. Whereas the Haskalah wanted to end Jewish segregation and encourage greater engagement with modern ideas and secular society, traditionalists saw this as a threat to Jewish religious identity. Thus the Haredim stuck resolutely to their traditional clothes and ways. They would chat in Yiddish and only pray in Hebrew, too holy a language for social intercourse. And when the secular movement of modern Zionism started to take shape, they opposed this too: only God could bring about the new Israel, they argued. Trying to pre-empt God’s action through secular nationalism was a heresy. Judaism is fundamentally a religious community, they argued, and modern notions of race and nationhood are alien to it. Thus, for many Haredim, the state of Israel remains almost sacrilegious.

It’s not so long ago that even the chief rabbis of the UK thought something similar. In 1898, Mirvis’s predecessor, Chief Rabbi Naftali Hermann Adler, gave a sermon in which he condemned modern Zionism as usurping God’s role: “I look at this movement and worry with my heart, since I see it as opposed to the Torah of Hashem.” (Hashem meaning “the name” – that is, God’s name.) Compared with what others were saying, this is mild stuff indeed.

Yes, after a long and heated debate, mainstream orthodox Judaism was won round to the modern version of Zionism and now celebrates it enthusiastically. But the idea that those who oppose it are being “deeply insulting to the Jewish community” does rather depend on which Jewish community you mean. Chief Rabbi Adler’s successors might have changed their mind, but many deeply traditional Jewish communities have not. And these communities are growing. Currently the Haredim make up roughly 10% of the Israeli population. Given the current birth rate of about six children per Haredi mother, some predict they will make up 25% of the population within a few decades. And a significant proportion of these are somewhere on a scale from indifferent to downright hostile to the state of Israel, and refuse to serve in its army. Last year a uniformed IDF officer was pelted with stones, eggs and nappies in Mea Shearim.

Often dismissed as “extremists”, these Jews don’t fit with the neat secular narrative into which the Israeli government continues to woo them through education and army membership. But by refusing assimilation, the Haredim deliberately eschew the racy hi-tech Israel of those jogging on the Tel Aviv seafront. Personally, I admire their stubborn resistance to secular homogenised modernity and omnipresent capitalism, its companion. Furthermore, whatever else one may say about the Haredim, their anti-Zionism isn’t antisemitism. They stick to older, pre-Enlightenment promises about Zion. And why shouldn’t they?”

For the entire article click here.

How Different Are Fundamentalist Ultra-Orthodox Jews and Fundamentalist Islamists?

Using the Assertions Made in An Article About Belgium, Can an Argument be Made that by Allowing Small Enclaves and Microcosm Communities of Fundamentalists to Exist, we are Creating a Path to Our Own Destruction?

LostMessiah, March 28, 2016

Please note that while we are focusing strictly upon the Fundamentalist ultra-Orthodox in this article, the same thesis might apply to every community in which members are not integrated, are permitted to speak in their own languages, are permitted to abide by their own laws and are not required to integrate into mainstream society. Our thesis could just as easily apply to the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, the Scientologists, the Moonies, the Fundamentalist Muslims and the list goes on.  

An article , in the New York Post, Brussels is what happens when liberals don’t push immigrants to integrate, written by Amir Taheri, dated March 27, 2016, posits the thesis that the explosion in Belgium is the direct results of not pushing immigrants to integrate. The article suggests that by allowing different cultures and religions to form their own enclaves or states within the greater country, “otherness” is encouraged and integration discouraged. The article further posits that by accepting the “otherness” in Islamic terms, the subjugation of women with hijabs, arranged marriages, studies in different languages, a country not only allows the “others” to strengthen its religious “otherness” but also encourages it to establish a political ideology. Once that political ideology gets strong enough, as a logical conclusion, though not necessarily stated in the article, the positions of the immigrants as “others” and the national society as “mainstream” run the risk of getting reversed.

“What happened in Brussels was a co-production by adepts of two sick ideologies.
The first one is Islamism in its many versions, including Khomeinism in Iran, Talibanism in Afghanistan, Salafism in Arab countries, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and ISIS and its offshoots across the globe. It will remain firmly in place until it implodes under the weight of its savage contradictions, as did the old Soviet Union, or is defeated in a war as was the case with Nazi Germany and imperialist Japan.
The other co-producer, the mushy and politically correct “liberal” ideology that has seduced segments of opinion in Western democracies, can and must be combated by all those who wish to protect the democratic system in an increasingly dangerous world.
In Brussels, it started in the 1960s when the postwar economic boom created a shortage of workers.
Like other Western European countries, notably Germany and France, Belgium had to import workers on a massive scale….
By the 1990s, most of the factories had disappeared, but the immigrants remained. By then Islam was Belgium’s second-largest religion, now accounting for over 700,000 people or 6.2% of the population. Of these, almost half live in Brussels, counting for 28% of the total population of the city, and guarding the demographically declining districts from “falling” to the Flemish.
One of the districts is Molenbeek, now infamous as the Belgian capital of jihadism, where more than 100,000 mostly North African Muslims live and where the perpetrators of recent terrors attacks against Paris and Brussels lived and hid.”

While the Post article takes the perspective of blaming a liberal ideology on the problems within Europe, not only Belgium. We feel that even if blame were removed from the equation, the problem that exists now is one that needs a resolution before all of Europe gets blown up by suicide bombers. Moreover, in a very general sense, we see numerous similarities between the Islamists and the ultra-Orthodox Jews, though recognizing that the methods of “otherness” and the results of that “otherness” are, at least for now, dissimilar.

“The Belgian multiculturalist elites, making a fetish of the concept of “otherness” corrected that lacuna by financing courses in Islam, encouraging the building of mosques and Koranic schools and even subsidizing pilgrimages to Mecca. The welfare industry also had an interest in protecting the “otherness” of the immigrant community where unemployment was rising, reaching over 40% by the end of the 1990s. In some cases, four generations of a family could be found on the welfare register in the context of their cherished “otherness.””

The New York Post article could very well be applied, quite aptly to the ultra-Orthodox radicals who have taken over cities like Lakewood and Toms River, New Square, Kaser, Monroe-Woodbury, Kiryas Joel, Monsey, Baltimore, London, Antwerp, Jerusalem and many other places. They enclose themselves in small enclaves, dress differently, speak Yiddish rather than English and do not teach their children subjects which would allow for those children to integrate, assimilate or sustain themselves as adults. In our view, this is quite deliberate.

According to the article:

America’s strength comes from its multiculturalism, but that’s only true only when all its people, all its races and religions, believe in the same values. Liberals fetishize separation, arguing that immigrants don’t need to learn English, don’t need to stop subjugating women with hijabs and arranged marriages, don’t need to become citizens. They encourage otherness rather than integration. They want immigrants to change the country, rather than the other way around. They say Islam is not the enemy — but that’s only true if Islam is a religion and not a political ideology bent on undermining democracy.
Brussels is the result of this thinking. It’s what happens when immigrants are allowed to construct their own state within a state, not pushed to become part of a nation.

In the case of the Fundamentalist ultra-Orthodox Jews, many of the communities in which they live are now their own separate and distinct “other” “state within a state.” They do not share the same belief in the same values as those “outside” of their small enclaves. Moreover, we cannot fool ourselves into overlooking the political strength they have garnered and the notion that they are, little by little becoming their own political ideology hell-bent on undermining democracy. The simplest example of this is the notion of Mesirah which demands (or so it is threatened) that members of the community not report crimes to the non-Jewish “outsiders.” That is one tiny example of the many instances in which ultra-Orthodox fundamentalist Judaism is no longer simply a religious belief and set of values, but is metamorphosing into its own political entity. We have seen this referred to as the “bloc” but it is far more nefarious in our view.

We believe, that while radical ultra-Orthodox Jews are less likely to blow themselves up to destroy the foundations of a country and its civilians (suicide is strictly forbidden), the drain on the healthcare system, Medicaid, school aid, and other welfare systems has the same destructive affect, albeit non-violently. We share the view, respective of the ultra-Orthodox, of the New York Post article that by allowing immigrants to create microcosm societies within our States, rather than implementing a program of integration, we will be guilty of our own demise.

We espouse the viewpoint of the New York Post article in its position that if the ultra-Orthodox, juxtaposed with the Islamic extremist, communities are not held accountable to our laws on all fronts, the potential for destruction increases. We strongly believe that by allowing children to grow up speaking their own language with little or no command of the English language, that by failing to teach our children, that by allowing women to be subjugated to men, forbidden from driving or walking outside of the confines of their communities sans male escorts, that by failing to enforce laws that demand financial accountability, that by allowing children to continue to get abused, both physically and sexually, we are allowing if not encouraging exactly what happened in Belgium to happen in the United States, just in the form of financial decimation.

In one community, New Square, a man was burned for not davening in the same synagogue as the rest of the community, action that was sanctioned by the great Rabbi of that community. Upon the arsonists release, he was celebrated a hero, unsettlingly similar to the martyrs of radical Islam. If Rabbi Twersky can justify sending out his boys to blow up their “heretics”, what is to stop them from one day deciding that violence on all fronts is permissible?

It is about time that we look to what could be the future of our country, whether in the form of financial demise or an upsurge of violence, and make changes to our overall ideology of tolerance taken to the nth degree. We were a country founded upon the separation of Church and State. It is about time we enforce that separation and demand our classrooms not pander to “otherness.”

Whether those of us as Jews want to admit this to ourselves or not, it is difficult to ignore the similarities between what has occurred in Belgium and throughout much of Europe with the Fundamentalist Islamic Groups; and what is happening in the United States and other places throughout the world with the fundamentalist Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups. Until we take action, which we believe begins with education, demanding that ultra-Orthodox children be taught secular subjects and the English language, placing their religious teachings secondary to  required secular education within the United States; than the cycle will continue.

For the entire article from The New York Post, click, Brussels is what happens when liberals don’t push immigrants to integrate.