Minister of Religious Affairs meets with women Torah scholars including women rabbis

August 31, 2021 by Gil Tanenbaum - TPS
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Israel’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Matan Kahana and MK Nir Orbach met over the weekend with the directors and heads of halachic (Jewish law) programs for women.

Matan Kahan Meets with Religious Women Tora Scholars

There is a growing movement within the more modern orthodox segment of the Jewish orthodox world of women who pursue careers related to Torah study. Many become educators. Some become religious advocates who are licensed to argue cases before rabbinical courts. Some have even taken on the title of rabbi for themselves.

The ultra-orthodox (Haredi) community opposes such expansion of the study of Torah among women. But their political parties are not currently a part of Israel’s coalition government. The current Israeli government, however, is comprised of several liberal parties which have pledged to promote more modern policies with regards to religious laws and practices in Israel.

This includes the Kadima Party of Israel’s co-Prime Minister Yair Lapid. Minister Kahana is from a religious party himself, the Yamina Party, which is the party of Israel’s current serving Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

During the meeting, Minister Kahana learned about the special needs of the various study programs. The rabbis who met with him laid out before Kahana the frameworks for the placement of graduates of these programs in various communal positions.

It was noted that in Israel there are a number of higher halakhic study programs for women. Most of the women who study in these programs have families and want to delve deeper into the world of halachic law in order to make it a significant part of their lives. Despite this, after many years and many decades of seeing women graduate from such programs, the Israeli government has not yet taken a significant part in promoting them.

At the end of the meeting, the Minister emphasized the importance of the female Torah world. He also acknowledged that there is a need arising from the various communities for female Torah leadership. In addition, an outline was established for continued cooperation between the Beit Midrash for the study of Halacha for women and the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

The Minister thanked the participants and said that he was moved by the right to live in a generation where the Torah is flourishing

The Leaders of women’s Jewish law studies programs who met with Minister Kahan included Rebbetzin Hanna Hankin, Rabbi Michal Tykoczynski, head of the halakhic program at Migdal Oz, Rebbetzin Deborah Evron, director of the Halachic Leadership Institute at Lindenbaum, Rebbetzin Racheli Frenkel, director of the halakhic program at Matan Jerusalem, Rebbetzin Oshra Koren, head of the Matan Hasharon seminary, and Rebbetzin Batya Kraus Halacha at Matan Hasharon, Rebbetzin Rachel Keren, head of the Beit Midrash in Ein Hanatziv, and Rebbetzin Mali Strigler, Halacha consultant, soul graduate, Matan and Beit Morasha.

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