Monday, March 30, 2009

Yoetzet? Nice, but Maharat is better

Somehow it escaped our notice that Sara Hurwitz has been appointed a full member of the (Orthodox) clergy at the the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. Her title is Maharat, not Rabbi, but in an interview with TJC, she suggests that's just semantics.

"Maharat means Rabbi" she said.

What do I say? Rely upon her if you like, for any matter you wish. I won't - mostly because I have very little use for Rabbis, but also because I'm lamentably old fashioned: Maharat Sara, as she says she wishes to be called, is both too young and too female for me, but that's a personal preference, not an objective disqualification.

Sidenotes: The left seems grumpier about this then the right. The worst Avi Safran had to say was that Mahart Sarah's congregation was "misguided"; more middle of the road Orthodox said nothing. Meanwhile, a Rabbi-Doctor from JTS expressed her displeasure that the Maharat wasn't given the title "Rabbi." I see the point - if she trained as a Rabbi and functions as a Rabbi let her be called Rabbi - but some taboos die hard.

Additional sidenote: If Maharat Sarah has a husband, and he had a blog, specifically about his place and role in his wife's congeration, what would he call it? What's the word for a Maharat's husband? And does renegade have a synonym that starts with "M"?

Still more side-noting: Avi Shafran is teflon. I'd love to be able to call whole hunks of Judaism "misguided" and still be worshipped and admired by the people who read Cross Currents.

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