How do the "reformed" Jewish denominations justify having female rabbis?

I noticed today in an article about a different subject that there now exist female rabbis, and it made me wonder where they believe that they get the authority and justification to do this since I know that it’s not from the Jewish Bible (Old Testament). Also, where do they believe they get the authority to infuse gay pride into the modern Jewish celebration of the Passover?

How do certain Protestant denominations justify doing analogous things? I suspect there are similar ideas and attitudes at work.

Rabbis are NOT priests.

Why would there be any issue with that?

They CANNOT offer sacrifices to GOD. They read the Torah in the Sinagogues.
Same with the protestant denominations, they have no priests.
They have preachers
The Catholic church I attend to has 2 lectors that are women and most weeks at least 1 is reading.

But only a male priest can take Jesus place and say HIS words.

Can you see the contradiction? CAN a woman say “THIS IS MY BODY” and this body is a MALE
She cannot! It would not be true and the Eucharist CANNOT be a lie.

It’s still a gender role issue. It is, in my opinion, a mistake to reduce the entire question of gender roles in religion to one or two things that are unique to the Catholic priesthood.

Jewish Law, known as Halakhah, governs every aspect of life and behavior, from what to eat, how to dress, how to observe the holy days, how to pray, how to conduct oneself in business, how to mourn the deceased, and how to relate to G-d, other people, and animals. Halakhah is based on the Written Law of the Torah, the Oral Law of the Talmud as compiled by rabbis, and custom. According to many Torah or Orthodox Jews, women rabbis are forbidden according to the rules of Halakhah. However, this is not exactly the case. There is nothing in Torah that explicitly or implicitly forbids women rabbis, while in the Talmud, there are certain rules proposed by rabbis, but their arguments are not very compelling. So the main reason for not having women rabbis is based on Halakhic custom. According to Reform Jews, this kind of custom is not binding and, since Judaism is thought of by Reform Judaism as an evolving religion, custom may and should bend according to the times.

With regard to celebrating gay pride during the Passover Seder, the holiday represents the liberation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt. However, Passover is not thought of as only a recollection of what once took place in ancient times. The Haggadah in fact is explicit in stating that each Jew bears the responsibility of talking about the liberation from Egypt as though it actually happened in their OWN lives in the PRESENT. The telling of the Passover tale is based on what G-d did for ME now, not only what G-d did for my ancestors. Further, during the Passover ceremony, there is often an identification with the struggles of other peoples from other countries and their fight against slavery down to the present day. It is not too much of a stretch, therefore, to imagine that any group of people who is presently oppressed or discriminated against and battling such discrimination is bound to be grateful to G-d for liberating them from their oppressors and helping them walk on a road toward a brighter future of freedom.

Been waiting for your post. Thank you for the clarification . :thumbsup:

You’re very welcome. Glad to be of some help.

Well, I’m glad this subject came up. As someone else stated above, it’s important to realize that Rabbis are not priests. There have been no priests in Judaism since the time of Christ (someone correct me if I’m wrong).

There is a particular woman Rabbi I have a lot of respect for…her name is Einat Ramon, and she lives in Israel. She was the first Israeli-born woman to be ordained a Rabbi. Her avid seeking of the truth, as well as her submission to God’s law, caused her to have to leave her position in a Jewish seminary (is that the right word?) over the issue of homosexuality. She did not agree with the recent decision that was made in favor of ordaining homosexuals to the rabbinate.

Here is some information about her:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einat_Ramon

Her husband, Rabbi Arik Ascherman, leads the group Rabbis for Human Rights, which defends Palestinians (including Palestinian Christians) against unjust Israeli aggression.

To me, both seem rather “Catholic” in certain respects.(I’m not saying that they are Christians, but that they hold many outlooks in common with the Church).

As far as Protestant pastors of various types go (with the exception of Anglican priests), the women are not priests either. That issue is not in the same league as ordination of women to the priesthood.

There are still kohanim (and other Levites), but they have not had a Temple to sacrifice in since AD 70. I believe that in Orthodox Judaism the kohanim still offer a priestly blessing on holidays or even every day, and have special laws that apply only to them and roles in Synagogue worship. In Reform Judaism they no longer have recognized role. Their role in Conservative Judaism falls somewhere in between I think.

It is true that rabbis are not priests, but it is also true that Jesus unified (as well as transcended) the roles of rabbi and priest and that the Christian clergy continue in that unity, participating in a partial way in the rabbinical and priestly authority of Christ (as well as the roles of Synagogue elder and Davidic king). I therefore think that the question of female rabbis is a significant one for Christianity. The fact that Orthodox (and Conservative?) Judaism have only male rabbis helps make the male-only Catholic priesthood more comprehensible and acceptable in the modern world, and the existence of female rabbis only adds to the sense that there could also be female priests.

Deborah perhaps?

Here is a video interview with the above mentioned Einat Ramon:
youtube.com/watch?v=C6XFSyxa18w

According to the Wikipedia article, she no longer goes by the title “rabbi”, and is embracing another role in her life.

She strikes me as an authentic seeker of the truth.

wonderfully explained. Like a Rabbi

I’m no rabbi; that’s for sure. But thank you for the compliment.

Granted; Rabbis are not Priests. Priests are Ordained to the Priesthood, Rabbis are not “Ordained”, per se. Rather, they are hired by their Congregations and paid by their congregations. You can be sure that if they violate any of the teachings of their faith, they will not be called “Rabbi” for very long!
A Jewish House of Worship is called a “Synagogue” or a Temple or a Shul. The first is not spelled with the letter “i”.

As for the Consecration, the Priest does not say “This is my body” (as if it was that of the Priest himself!). Rather he says "Jesus said ‘Take this all of you and eat of it, for this is my body, which will be given up for you’. Thus, there is no claim that it is the body of anyone other than Jesus of Nazareth. Thus, whether the celebrant is male or female, the reference is that the Host is the Body of Jesus Christ, and NOT that of the person holding the Host.

Some Protestant denominations DO call their religious leaders “Priests”. Episcopalians and Anglicans may fit into that group. I believe that Episcopal Priests also wear a Roman Collar, similar to that of a Roman Catholic Priest.

No disrespect is intended, but an improvement in reading comprehension would help you to understand these things more clearly.

Bit of trivia: The clerical collar was an invention of the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) minister Rev. Dr Donald Mcleod.

To which I attach no special significance, as it is not of major importance in the world of today. The Roman Collar is almost universally seen as a sign of a Roman Catholic Priest. Certainly, there are more of them than there are of any other Christian denomination.

Kohanim (“priests”) still exist and I am married to one :slight_smile:
Their current roles are limited since we do not have a Temple at this time.

As far as women rabbis, they do not exist in Orthodoxy, only in the more liberal movements.
It comes from Jewish law.

I disagree with making a statement at a seder regarding “freeing” Gays. G-d expressly forbids homosexuality and I don’t believe that He would exactly approve of them being
listed as needing to be “free” during the seder.
That is not to say we should hate them nor treat them over all any differently than anyone else…but G-d Himself forbids such relationships.

You are correct, as God says that such acts are “abominations” in His sight.
By the way, around 1971 there was one woman in the USA who became an Orthodox Rabbi. She was recognized as one of the Ten outstanding Young Women in America that year, or shortly thereafter.
As for the “reform” movement, they are about as far off base as the lib dems in Washington, DC. If I need an interpretation or clarification of anything pertaining to Judaism, I ask an Orthodox Rabbi. If one is not available, I ask a Conservative Rabbi. Their answers are usually pretty close to what I get from the Orthodox.

The Torah refers explicitly only to male homosexuality, not female homosexuality. The latter is forbidden by Orthodox Jews only by inference to Pagan customs, which Jews should not emulate. Even the so-called “abomination” of male homosexuality is open to interpretation based on the meaning of the Hebrew term and the context in which it is mentioned.

Conservative Judaism has allowed the ordination of gay rabbis and the celebration of same-sex marriages rather than sexual relationships outside of marriage. Individual Conservative rabbis may differ with this stance, however.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.