Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sauce for the Gil is good for the gander

In light of the recent revelations about how Gil Student personally manipulated the RCA into passing a negative, widely reviled resolution about women and ordination, I have this question: Gil Student is a modern 21st century Rabbi, by which I mean he teaches, answers questions and provides counsel without ever (1) exercising religious authority, (2)  operating as a dayan, or (3) paskening. All of the halachot against ordaining women relate to those three specific things: exercising religious authority, serving as a dayan, and paskening.

Like most 21st century rabbis, Rabbi Student does none of those things... yet he still gets to sit on the RCA and call himself a Rabbi and he is afforded these privileges simply by virtue of the fact that he completed a course of study and passed a test. So why can't a woman who also does none of those things likewise enjoy the privilege of joining the RCA and using a title provided she finished the same course of study and passed the same test?

Or to quote a Facebook friend: "Today we have watered down "semikhah" to being nothing more than a certificate of completion. Outside those who get it due to yichus or paying off the right people. Men are getting it after doing online coursework and don't become rebbeim, pulpit rabbis, Dayanim poskim or sometimes even decent Jews. If that's all it means anymore then how do you argue against giving THAT to a women?"


A rumor is going around that Gil Student holds private smikha, which may mean something awesome, but likely does not - and because its "private" we'll never know.

Why can't a women get the same credential? 

So long as she never exercises religious authority or serves as a dayan what's the problem?

 If a man who has nothing better than "private smikha" - or worse, online smikha, or some other watered down facsimile of smikha -  can join the RCA and carry himself as a Rabbi with all the rights and privileges thereof, why can't a woman pull the same stunt?

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