Rabbi

Rabbi

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In Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, a rabbi (icon) is a teacher of Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

. This title derives from the Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 word רבי ˈʁäbi, meaning "My Master" (irregular plural רבנים ʁäbäˈnim), which is the way a student would address a master of Torah. This word "master" רב ˈʁäv literally means "great one" or one who is "abundant/much/many".

The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisaic
Pharisees
The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty in the wake of...

 and Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

ic era, when learned teachers assembled to codify Judaism's written and oral laws. In more recent centuries, the duties of the rabbi became increasingly influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian minister
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

, hence the title "pulpit
Pulpit
Pulpit is a speakers' stand in a church. In many Christian churches, there are two speakers' stands at the front of the church. Typically, the one on the left is called the pulpit...

 rabbis", and in 19th century Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 rabbinic activities including sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s, pastoral counseling, and representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance.

Within the various Jewish denominations
Jewish denominations
Jewish religious movements , sometimes called "denominations" or "branches", include different groups which have developed among Jews from ancient times and especially in the modern era among Ashkenazi Jews living in anglophone countries...

 there are different requirements for rabbinic ordination, and differences in opinion regarding who is to be recognized as a rabbi. All types of Judaism except for Orthodox Judaism ordain women as rabbis and cantors
Hazzan
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...

  .

Etymology and history


The word rabbi derives from the Hebrew root word , rav, which in biblical Hebrew means ‘great’ in many senses, including "revered". The word comes from the Semitic
Semitic languages
The Semitic languages are a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 270 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa...

 root R-B-B, and is cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

 to Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 ربّ rabb, meaning "lord" (generally used when talking about God, but also about temporal lords). As a sign of great respect, some great rabbis are simply called "The Rav".

Rabbi is not an occupation found in the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 (i.e. the Pentateuch) and ancient generations did not employ related titles such as Rabban, Ribbi, or Rab to describe either the Babylonian sages or the sages in Israel. The titles "Rabban" and "Rabbi" are first mentioned in the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 (c. 200 CE). The term was first used for Rabban Gamaliel the elder, Rabban Simeon his son, and Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, all of whom were patriarchs or presidents of the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

. A Greek transliteration of the word ῥαββί hrab-bee' is found in the books of Matthew
Gospel of Matthew
The Gospel According to Matthew is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth...

, Mark
Gospel of Mark
The Gospel According to Mark , commonly shortened to the Gospel of Mark or simply Mark, is the second book of the New Testament. This canonical account of the life of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the three synoptic gospels. It was thought to be an epitome, which accounts for its place as the second...

 and John
Gospel of John
The Gospel According to John , commonly referred to as the Gospel of John or simply John, and often referred to in New Testament scholarship as the Fourth Gospel, is an account of the public ministry of Jesus...

 in the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

, where it is used in reference to "Scribes and Pharisees" as well as to Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

.

Pronunciation


Sephardic and Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews
Yemenite Jews are those Jews who live, or whose recent ancestors lived, in Yemen . Between June 1949 and September 1950, the overwhelming majority of Yemen's Jewish population was transported to Israel in Operation Magic Carpet...

 pronounce this word ribbī ; the modern Israeli pronunciation rabi is derived from an 18th century innovation in Ashkenazic prayer books
Siddur
A siddur is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. This article discusses how some of these prayers evolved, and how the siddur, as it is known today has developed...

, although this vocalization is also found in some ancient sources. Other variants are rəvī and, in Yiddish, rebbə. The word could be compared to the Syriac word rabi.

In ancient Hebrew, rabbi was a proper term of address while speaking to a superior, in the second person
Grammatical person
Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to a participant in an event; such as the speaker, the addressee, or others. Grammatical person typically defines a language's set of personal pronouns...

, similar to a vocative case
Vocative case
The vocative case is the case used for a noun identifying the person being addressed and/or occasionally the determiners of that noun. A vocative expression is an expression of direct address, wherein the identity of the party being spoken to is set forth expressly within a sentence...

. While speaking about a superior, in the third person
Grammatical person
Grammatical person, in linguistics, is deictic reference to a participant in an event; such as the speaker, the addressee, or others. Grammatical person typically defines a language's set of personal pronouns...

 one could say ha-rav ("the Master") or rabbo ("his Master"). Later, the term evolved into a formal title for members of the Patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

ate. Thus, the title gained an irregular plural form: rabbanim ("rabbis"), and not rabbay ("my Masters").

Honor


There is a mitzvah to stand up for a Rabbi or Torah Scholar when they enter one's presence.
However, if one is more learned than the Rabbi there is no need to stand. One must also stand for the spouse of a Rabbi or Torah Scholar and address them with the utmost respect. In many places today and throughout history, Rabbis and Torah Scholars had the power to place individuals who insulted them in excommunication. Kohanim, like everyone else, are required to honor Rabbis and Torah Scholars.

The definition of a Torah Scholar is complex and subjective.

Historical overview


The governments of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah
Kingdom of Judah
The Kingdom of Judah was a Jewish state established in the Southern Levant during the Iron Age. It is often referred to as the "Southern Kingdom" to distinguish it from the northern Kingdom of Israel....

 were based on a system of Jewish kings, prophets, the legal authority of the court of the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

 and the ritual authority of priesthood
Kohen
A Kohen is the Hebrew word for priest. Jewish Kohens are traditionally believed and halachically required to be of direct patrilineal descent from the Biblical Aaron....

. Members of the Sanhedrin had to receive their semicha
Semicha
, also , or is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". It generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism. In this sense it is the "transmission" of rabbinic authority to give advice or judgment in Jewish law...

("ordination") derived in an uninterrupted line of transmission from Moses
Moses
Moses was, according to the Hebrew Bible and Qur'an, a religious leader, lawgiver and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed...

, yet rather than being referred to as "rabbis" they were more frequently called judge
Judge
A judge is a person who presides over court proceedings, either alone or as part of a panel of judges. The powers, functions, method of appointment, discipline, and training of judges vary widely across different jurisdictions. The judge is supposed to conduct the trial impartially and in an open...

s (dayanim) akin to the Shoftim or "Judges" as in the Book of Judges
Book of Judges
The Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Hebrew bible and the Christian Old Testament. Its title describes its contents: it contains the history of Biblical judges, divinely inspired prophets whose direct knowledge of Yahweh allows them to act as decision-makers for the Israelites, as...

.

All of the above personalities would have been expected to be steeped in the wisdom of the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 and the commandments
613 mitzvot
The 613 commandments is a numbering of the statements and principles of law, ethics, and spiritual practice contained in the Torah or Five Books of Moses...

, which would have made them "rabbis" in the modern sense of the word. This is illustrated by an two-thousand-year-old teaching in the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

, Ethics of the Fathers (Pirkei Avot), which observed about King David,
"One who learns from their companion a single chapter, a single halakha
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

, a single verse, a single Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 statement, or even a single letter, must treat them with honor. For so we find with David King of Israel, who learned nothing from Ahitophel
Ahitophel
Ahitophel was a counselor of King David and a man greatly renowned for his sagacity. At the time of Absalom's revolt he deserted David and espoused the cause of Absalom ....

 except two things, yet called him his teacher [Hebrew text: rabbo], his guide, his intimate, as it is said: 'You are a man of my measure, my guide, my intimate' (Psalms
Psalms
The Book of Psalms , commonly referred to simply as Psalms, is a book of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Bible...

 55:14). One can derive from this the following: If David King of Israel who learned nothing from Ahitophel except for two things, called him his teacher, his guide, his intimate, one who learns from their companion a single chapter, a single halakha, a single verse, a single statement, or even a single letter, how much more must they treat them with honor. And honor is due only for Torah, as it is said: 'The wise shall inherit honor' (Proverbs
Book of Proverbs
The Book of Proverbs , commonly referred to simply as Proverbs, is a book of the Hebrew Bible.The original Hebrew title of the book of Proverbs is "Míshlê Shlomoh" . When translated into Greek and Latin, the title took on different forms. In the Greek Septuagint the title became "paroimai paroimiae"...

 3:35), 'and the perfect shall inherit good' (Proverbs 28:10). And only Torah is truly good, as it is said: 'I have given you a good teaching, do not forsake My Torah' (Psalms 128:2)." (Ethics of the Fathers 6:3)


With the destruction of the two Temples in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

, the end of the Jewish monarchy, and the decline of the dual instititutions of prophets and the priesthood, the focus of scholarly and spiritual leadership within the Jewish people shifted to the sages of the Men of the Great Assembly (Anshe Knesset HaGedolah). This assembly was composed of the earliest group of "rabbis" in the more modern sense of the word, in large part because they began the formulation and explication of what became known as Judaism's "Oral Law" (Torah SheBe'al Peh). This was eventually encoded and codified within the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 and Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and subsequent rabbinical scholarship, leading to what is known as Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

.

Sages


The title "Rabbi" was borne by the sages of ancient Israel, who were ordained by the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

 in accordance with the custom handed down by the elders. They were titled Ribbi and received authority to judge penal cases. Rab was the title of the Babylonian sage
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

s who taught in the Babylonian academies
Talmudic Academies in Babylonia
The Talmudic Academies in Babylonia, also known as the Geonic Academies, were the center for Jewish scholarship and the development of Jewish law in Mesopotamia from roughly 589 CE to 1038 CE...

.

After the suppression of the Patriarchate
Nasi
Nāśī’ is a Hebrew title meaning prince in Biblical Hebrew, Prince in Mishnaic Hebrew, or president in Modern Hebrew.-Genesis and Ancient Israel:...

 and Sanhedrin by Theodosius II
Theodosius II
Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

 in 425, there was no more formal ordination in the strict sense. A recognised scholar could be called Rab or Hacham, like the Babylonian sages. The transmission of learning from master to disciple remained of tremendous importance, but there was no formal rabbinic qualification as such.

Middle Ages


Maimonides
Maimonides
Moses ben-Maimon, called Maimonides and also known as Mūsā ibn Maymūn in Arabic, or Rambam , was a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and one of the greatest Torah scholars and physicians of the Middle Ages...

 rules that every congregation is obliged to appoint a preacher and scholar to admonish the community and teach Torah, and the social institution he describes is the germ of the modern congregational rabbinate. In the fifteenth century in Central Europe, the custom grew up of licensing scholars with a diploma entitling them to be called Mori (my teacher). At the time this was objected to as hukkat ha-goy (imitating the ways of the Gentiles), as it was felt to resemble the conferring of doctorates in Christian universities. However the system spread, and it is this diploma that is referred to as semicha (ordination) at the present day.

18th-19th century


In 19th century Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the duties of the rabbi became increasingly influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian Minister
Clergy
Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

, hence the title "pulpit
Pulpit
Pulpit is a speakers' stand in a church. In many Christian churches, there are two speakers' stands at the front of the church. Typically, the one on the left is called the pulpit...

 rabbis". Sermon
Sermon
A sermon is an oration by a prophet or member of the clergy. Sermons address a Biblical, theological, religious, or moral topic, usually expounding on a type of belief, law or behavior within both past and present contexts...

s, pastoral counseling, representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance. Non-Orthodox rabbis, on a day-to-day business basis, now spend more time on these traditionally non-rabbinic functions than they do teaching, or answering questions on Jewish law and philosophy. Within the Modern Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 community, rabbis still mainly deal with teaching and questions of Jewish law, but are increasingly dealing with these same pastoral functions. Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

's National Council of Young Israel and Modern Orthodox Judaism
Modern Orthodox Judaism
Modern Orthodox Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law, with the secular, modern world....

's Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbinical Council of America
The Rabbinical Council of America is one of the world's largest organizations of Orthodox rabbis; it is affiliated with The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, more commonly known as the Orthodox Union, or OU...

 have set up supplemental pastoral training programs for their rabbis.

Traditionally, rabbis have never been an intermediary between God
Names of God in Judaism
In Judaism, the name of God is more than a distinguishing title; it represents the Jewish conception of the divine nature, and of the relationship of God to the Jewish people and to the world. To demonstrate the sacredness of the names of God, and as a means of showing respect and reverence for...

 and humans. This idea was traditionally considered outside the bounds of Jewish theology. Unlike spiritual leaders in many other faiths, they are not considered to be imbued with special powers or abilities.

In an ironic twist, the secular system in most states requires that a Jewish wedding be performed by an ordained rabbi in order to be legally recognized, even though there is no such requirement in Jewish law. In other words, the secular system treats rabbis as the Jewish equivalent
to Catholic Priests or Protestant Ministers, although they are not religious equivalents.

Authority



Acceptance of rabbinic credentials involves both issues of practicality and principle.

As a practical matter, communities and individuals typically tend to follow the authority of the rabbi they have chosen as their leader (called by some as the mara d'atra) on issues of Jewish law. They may recognize that other rabbis have the same authority elsewhere, but for decisions and opinions important to them they will work through their own rabbi.

The same pattern is true within broader communities, ranging from Hasidic communities to rabbinical or congregational organizations: there will be a formal or de facto structure of rabbinic authority that is responsible for the members of the community.

Ordination


Traditionally, a person obtains semicha
Semicha
, also , or is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". It generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism. In this sense it is the "transmission" of rabbinic authority to give advice or judgment in Jewish law...

("rabbinic ordination") after the completion of an arduous learning program in the codes of Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

 and responsa
Responsa
Responsa comprise a body of written decisions and rulings given by legal scholars in response to questions addressed to them.-In the Roman Empire:Roman law recognised responsa prudentium, i.e...

.

The most general form of semicha is Yore yore ("he shall teach"). Most Rabbis hold this qualification; they are sometimes called a moreh hora'ah ("a teacher of rulings"). A more advanced form of semicha is Yadin yadin ("he shall judge"). This enables the recipient to adjudicate cases of monetary law, amongst other responsibilities. Although the recipient can now be formally addressed as a dayan ("judge"), the vast majority retain the title rabbi. Only a small percentage of rabbis earn this ordination.
Although not strictly necessary, many Orthodox rabbis hold that a beth din
Beth din
A beth din, bet din, beit din or beis din is a rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Biblical Land of Israel...

(court of Jewish law) should be made up of dayanim.

Orthodox Judaism


An Orthodox semicha requires the successful completion of a rigorous program encompassing Jewish law and responsa in keeping with longstanding tradition. Orthodox rabbinical students work to gain knowledge in Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, Rishonim
Rishonim
"Rishon" redirects here. For the preon model in particle physics, see Harari Rishon Model. For the Israeli town, see Rishon LeZion.Rishonim were the leading Rabbis and Poskim who lived approximately during the 11th to 15th centuries, in the era before the writing of the Shulkhan Arukh and...

 and Acharonim
Acharonim
Acharonim is a term used in Jewish law and history, to signify the leading rabbis and poskim living from roughly the 16th century to the present....

 (early and late medieval commentators) and Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

. They study sections of the Shulchan Aruch
Shulchan Aruch
The Shulchan Aruch also known as the Code of Jewish Law, is the most authoritative legal code of Judaism. It was authored in Safed, Israel, by Yosef Karo in 1563 and published in Venice two years later...

 (codified Jewish law) and its main commentaries that pertain to daily-life questions (such as the laws of keeping kosher, Shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

, and the laws of family purity
Niddah
Niddah is a Hebrew term describing a woman during menstruation, or a woman who has menstruated and not yet completed the associated requirement of immersion in a mikveh ....

). Orthodox rabbis typically study at yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

s, which are dedicated religious schools. Modern Orthodox
Modern Orthodox Judaism
Modern Orthodox Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law, with the secular, modern world....

 rabbinical students, such as those at Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University is a private university in New York City, with six campuses in New York and one in Israel. Founded in 1886, it is a research university ranked as 45th in the US among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2012...

, study some elements of modern theology or philosophy, as well as the classical rabbinic works on such subjects.

The entrance requirements for an Orthodox yeshiva include a strong background within Jewish law, liturgy, Talmudic study, and attendant languages (e.g., Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

, Aramaic
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

 and in some cases Yiddish
Yiddish language
Yiddish is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken throughout the world. It developed as a fusion of German dialects with Hebrew, Aramaic, Slavic languages and traces of Romance languages...

). Since rabbinical studies typically flow from other yeshiva studies, those who seek a semicha are typically not required to have completed a university education. There are some exceptions to this rule, including Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University is a private university in New York City, with six campuses in New York and one in Israel. Founded in 1886, it is a research university ranked as 45th in the US among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2012...

, which requires all rabbinical students to complete an undergraduate degree before entering the program and a Masters or equivalent before ordination. Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School is a "Modern Open Orthodox" yeshiva founded in 1999 by Rabbi Avi Weiss.Currently located in Riverdale, New York, it seeks to "recruit, professionally train, and place rabbis" who will promote its founder's philosophy...

 Rabbinical School also requires an undergraduate degree before entering the program.

Haredi Judaism


While some Haredi
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

 (including Hasidic
Hasidic Judaism
Hasidic Judaism or Hasidism, from the Hebrew —Ḥasidut in Sephardi, Chasidus in Ashkenazi, meaning "piety" , is a branch of Orthodox Judaism that promotes spirituality and joy through the popularisation and internalisation of Jewish mysticism as the fundamental aspects of the Jewish faith...

) yeshiva
Yeshiva
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

s (also known as "Talmudical/Rabbinical schools or academies") do grant official semicha ("ordination") to many students wishing to become rabbis, most of the students within the yeshivas engage in learning Torah
Torah study
Torah study is the study by Jewish people of the Torah, Hebrew Bible, Talmud, responsa, rabbinic literature and similar works, all of which are Judaism's religious texts...

 or Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 without the goal of becoming rabbis or holding any official positions.

The curriculum for obtaining semicha ("ordination") as rabbis for Haredi and Hasidic scholars is the same as described above for all Orthodox students wishing to obtain the official title of "Rabbi" and to be recognized as such.

Women do not, and cannot, become rabbis in Orthodox Judaism. Only men can do so, and only after a long process of study in, and recognition by, their own yeshivas.

Within the Hasidic world, the positions of spiritual leadership are dynastically transmitted within established families, usually from fathers to sons, while a small number of students obtain official ordination to become dayanim ("judges") on religious courts
Beth din
A beth din, bet din, beit din or beis din is a rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Biblical Land of Israel...

, poskim
Posek
Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

 ("decisors" of Jewish law
Halakha
Halakha — also transliterated Halocho , or Halacha — is the collective body of Jewish law, including biblical law and later talmudic and rabbinic law, as well as customs and traditions.Judaism classically draws no distinction in its laws between religious and ostensibly non-religious life; Jewish...

), as well as teachers in the Hasidic schools. The same is true for the non-Hasidic Litvish yeshivas that are controlled by dynastically transmitted rosh yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva, , , is the title given to the dean of a Talmudical academy . It is made up of the Hebrew words rosh — meaning head, and yeshiva — a school of religious Jewish education...

s and the majority of students will not become rabbis, even after many years of post-graduate kollel
Kollel
A kollel is an institute for full-time, advanced study of the Talmud and rabbinic literature. Like a yeshiva, a kollel features shiurim and learning sedarim ; unlike a yeshiva, the student body of a kollel are all married men...

 study.

Some yeshivas, such as Yeshiva Chofetz Chaim (in New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

) and Yeshiva Ner Yisrael
Yeshiva Ner Yisrael: Ner Israel Rabbinical College
Ner Israel Rabbinical College or NIRC, is a prominent yeshiva in Baltimore, Maryland, founded in 1933 by Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman, a disciple of Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, dean of the Slabodka yeshiva in Lithuania...

 (in Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

), may encourage their students to obtain semicha and mostly serve as rabbis who teach in other yeshivas or Hebrew day schools. Other yeshivas, such as Yeshiva Chaim Berlin
Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin
Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin or Yeshivas Rabbeinu Chaim Berlin, is a Haredi Lithuanian-type yeshiva located in Brooklyn, New York. Established in 1904 as Yeshiva Tiferes Bachurim, it is the oldest yeshiva in Kings County...

 (Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York) or the Mirrer Yeshiva (in Brooklyn and Jerusalem), do not have an official "semicha/rabbinical program" to train rabbis, but provide semicha on an "as needs" basis if and when one of their senior students is offered a rabbinical position but only with the approval of their rosh yeshivas.

Consequently, within the world of Haredi Judaism
Haredi Judaism
Haredi or Charedi/Chareidi Judaism is the most conservative form of Orthodox Judaism, often referred to as ultra-Orthodox. A follower of Haredi Judaism is called a Haredi ....

, the English word and title of "Rabbi" for anyone is often scorned and derided, because in their view the once-lofty title of "Rabbi" has been debased in modern times. This is one reason that Haredim will often prefer using Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 names for rabbinic titles based on older traditions, such as: Rav (denoting "[great] rabbi"), HaRav ("the [great] rabbi"), Moreinu HaRav ("our teacher the [great] rabbi"), Moreinu ("our teacher"), Moreinu VeRabeinu HaRav ("our teacher and our rabbi/master the [great] rabbi"), Moreinu VeRabeinu ("our teacher and our rabbi/master"), Rosh yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva, , , is the title given to the dean of a Talmudical academy . It is made up of the Hebrew words rosh — meaning head, and yeshiva — a school of religious Jewish education...

("[the] head [of the] yeshiva"), Rosh HaYeshiva ("head [of] the yeshiva"), "Mashgiach" (for Mashgiach ruchani
Mashgiach ruchani
Mashgiach ruchani or mashgiach for short, means a spiritual supervisor or guide. It is a title which usually refers to a rabbi who has an official position within a yeshiva and is responsible for the non-academic areas of yeshiva students' lives.The position of mashgiach ruchani arose with the...

) ("spiritual supervsor/guide"), Mora DeAsra ("teacher/decisor" [of] the/this place"), HaGaon ("the genius"), Rebbe
Rebbe
Rebbe , which means master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word Rabbi. It often refers to the leader of a Hasidic Jewish movement...

("[our/my] rabbi"), HaTzadik ("the righteous/saintly"), "ADMOR" ("Adoneinu Moreinu VeRabeinu") ("our master, our teacher and our rabbi/master") or often just plain Reb which is a shortened form of rebbe that can be used by, or applied to, any married Jewish male as the situation applies.

Note: A rebbetzin
Rebbetzin
Rebbitzin or Rabbanit is the title used for the wife of a rabbi, typically from the Orthodox, or Haredi, and Hasidic Jewish groups...

(a Yiddish usage common among Ashkenazim
Ashkenazi Jews
Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim , are the Jews descended from the medieval Jewish communities along the Rhine in Germany from Alsace in the south to the Rhineland in the north. Ashkenaz is the medieval Hebrew name for this region and thus for Germany...

) or a rabbanit (in Hebrew
Hebrew language
Hebrew is a Semitic language of the Afroasiatic language family. Culturally, is it considered by Jews and other religious groups as the language of the Jewish people, though other Jewish languages had originated among diaspora Jews, and the Hebrew language is also used by non-Jewish groups, such...

 and used among Sephardim
Sephardi Jews
Sephardi Jews is a general term referring to the descendants of the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula before their expulsion in the Spanish Inquisition. It can also refer to those who use a Sephardic style of liturgy or would otherwise define themselves in terms of the Jewish customs and...

) is the official "title" used for, or by, the wife of any Orthodox, Haredi, or Hasidic rabbi. Rebbetzin may also be used as the equivalent of Reb and is sometimes abbreviated as such as well.

Conservative and Masorti Judaism


Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 confers rabbinic ordination after the completion of a rigorous program in the codes of Jewish law and responsa in keeping with Jewish tradition. Additional requirements include the study of: the Hebrew Bible, Mishna and Talmud, the Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 literature, Jewish ethics and lore, the codes of Jewish law, the Conservative responsa
Conservative responsa
Conservative responsa are the body of responsa literature of Conservative Judaism . Most Conservative responsa have been written by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards...

 literature, both traditional and modern Jewish works on theology and philosophy.

Conservative Judaism has less stringent study requirements for Talmud and responsa study compared to Orthodoxy but adds following subjects as requirements for rabbinic ordination: pastoral care and psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, the historical development of Judaism; and academic biblical criticism
Biblical criticism
Biblical criticism is the scholarly "study and investigation of Biblical writings that seeks to make discerning judgments about these writings." It asks when and where a particular text originated; how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced; what influences were at work...

.

Entrance requirements to a Conservative rabbinical study include a strong background within Jewish law and liturgy, knowledge of Hebrew, familiarity with rabbinic literature, Talmud, etc., and the completion of an undergraduate university degree. Rabbinical students usually earn a secular degree (e.g., Master of Hebrew Letters) upon graduation. Ordination is granted at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies
The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, informally known as the "Ziegler School" or simply "Ziegler", is the graduate program of study leading to Ordination as Conservative Rabbis at the American Jewish University...

 in Los Angeles, the Rabbinical School of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Jewish Theological Seminary of America
The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is one of the academic and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism, and a major center for academic scholarship in Jewish studies.JTS operates five schools: Albert A...

 in New York, the Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, the Jewish Theological Seminary – University of Jewish Studies
Jewish Theological Seminary – University of Jewish Studies
The Budapest University of Jewish Studies is a university in Budapest, Hungary. It was opened in 1877, a few decades after the first European rabbinical seminiaries had been built in Padua, Metz, Paris and Breslau...

 of Budapest and the Seminario Rabinico Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires (Argentina).

All Conservative seminaries train women as rabbis and cantor
Hazzan
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...

s.

Reform Judaism


Reform Judaism is a liberal form of Judaism. Its rabbinic studies are mandated in pastoral care, the historical development of Judaism, and academic biblical criticism, in addition to the traditional study of rabbinic texts. Rabbinic students also are required to gain practical rabbinic experience by working at a congregation.

All Reform seminaries train women as rabbis and cantor
Hazzan
A hazzan or chazzan is a Jewish cantor, a musician trained in the vocal arts who helps lead the congregation in songful prayer.There are many rules relating to how a cantor should lead services, but the idea of a cantor as a paid professional does not exist in classical rabbinic sources...

s.

The seminary of Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 in the United States is Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
Hebrew Union College
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the oldest extant Jewish seminary in the Americas and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism.HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.The Jerusalem...

. It has campuses in Cincinnati, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

, and in Jerusalem. In the United Kingdom the Reform
Reform Judaism (United Kingdom)
Reform Judaism in the United Kingdom in one of the two forms of Progressive Judaism found in the United Kingdom, the other being Liberal Judaism. Reform Judaism is both historically earlier and more traditionalist than Liberal Judaism....

 and Liberal movements maintain Leo Baeck College
Leo Baeck College
Leo Baeck College is a rabbinical college and centre for Jewish education located in north London. As well as being the smallest academic college in England, it is also the largest Jewish Progressive University and Rabbinic College in Europe....

 for the training of rabbis, and in Germany the progressive
Progressive Judaism (Germany)
Progressive Judaism in Germany is a community reborn from the ashes of the Shoah. It currently has over 20 communities across Germany, belonging to the Union of Progressive Jews in Germany and endorsing the beliefs and practices of Progressive Judaism....

 Abraham Geiger College trains Europeans for the rabbinate.

Seminaries unaffiliated with main denominations


There are several possibilities for receiving rabbinic ordination in addition to seminaries maintained by the large Jewish denominations. These include seminaries maintained by smaller denominational movements, and nondenominational (also called "transdenominational" or "postdenominational") Jewish seminaries.
  • Humanistic Judaism
    Humanistic Judaism
    Humanistic Judaism is a movement in Judaism that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life. It defines Judaism as the cultural and historical experience of the Jewish people and encourages humanistic and secular Jews to celebrate their Jewish identity by participating in Jewish...

     has the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism
    International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism
    The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism is the academic and intellectual center of Humanistic Judaism. It was established in Jerusalem in 1985 and currently has two centers of activity: one in Jerusalem and the other in Farmington Hills, Michigan...

    , which currently has two centers of activity: one in Jerusalem and the other in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Both places ordain women as well as men as rabbis, and do not ordain cantors of either sex.
  • Jewish Renewal
    Jewish Renewal
    Jewish Renewal , is a recent movement in Judaism which endeavors to reinvigorate modern Judaism with mystical, Hasidic, musical and meditative practices...

     has an ordination program, ALEPH, but no central campus. Orthodox Judaism holds that this program does not produce valid rabbis. ALEPH ordains women as well as men as rabbis and cantors.
  • Mizrahi Netzarim Judaism has the Cushite Hebrew Yeshiva, which is a non-messianic Yeshiva that follows the customs of North African Jews, and is located in Atlanta. It offers Rabbinical, Kohanim, and Jewish Pastor Studies, in addition to other options of study such as Holistic Medicine through traditional Apprenticeship methods of training (Rabbi to Disciple or Doctor to Student). Graduates receive Masters of Hebrew Letters or Masters of Netzarim Hebrew Theology degrees depending on the leadership apprenticeship concentration sought.
  • Reconstructionist Judaism
    Reconstructionist Judaism
    Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

     has the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
    Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
    The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College , is located in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles north of central Philadelphia. RRC is the only seminary affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. It is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and...

    , which is located in Pennsylvania and ordains women as well as men as rabbis and cantors.

  • The Academy for Jewish Religion
    Academy for Jewish Religion (New York)
    Since its founding in 1956 as a rabbinical school, The Academy for Jewish Religion has been at the forefront of pluralistic rabbinic and cantorial training...

    , in New York City
    New York City
    New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

    , since 1956, and the unrelated Academy for Jewish Religion
    Academy for Jewish Religion (California)
    The Academy for Jewish Religion, California , located in the Yitzchak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA , trains rabbis, cantors and chaplains to serve congregations and organizations of any denomination.-External links:*...

    -California, in Los Angeles
    Los Ángeles
    Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

    , since 2000, have been rabbinic (and cantorial) seminaries unaffiliated with any denomination or movement. Hebrew College
    Hebrew College
    Hebrew College is an accredited college of Jewish studies in Newton Centre, near Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1921, Hebrew College is committed to Jewish scholarship in a transdenominational academic environment. The president of the college is Rabbi Daniel Lehmann...

    , near Boston
    Boston
    Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

    , includes a similarly unaffiliated rabbinic school, opened in the Fall of 2003. These seminaries are accepted by all non-Orthodox rabbis as valid rabbinical seminaries, and they all ordain women as well as men as rabbis and cantors. Orthodox Jews do not consider these ordinations valid, because these seminaries do not consider Orthodox halacha to be binding.
  • The Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute (JSLI)
    Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute (JSLI)
    Founded in 2010, the Jewish Spiritual Leaders Institute ordains liberal rabbis to meet the needs of the millions of unaffiliated Jews as well as interfaith families. JSLI graduated its first class of rabbis in August 2011....

    , a year long correspondence program via the Internet, ordains women as well as men as 'liberal,' unaffiliated rabbis to meet the needs of unaffiliated Jews as well as interfaith couples and their families. It subscribes to Jewish Universalism, promoting religious tolerance and asserting that there are many paths to 'the One.' JSLI ordained its first class of rabbis in August 2011.
  • The Rabbinical Seminary International
    Rabbinical Seminary International
    The Rabbinical Seminary International is a rabbinical seminary located in New York City. RSI was founded in 1955 by the Hungarian Hasidic Rabbi and Kabbalist Dr. Joseph H. Gelberman, a graduate of City University of New York and Yeshiva University, who is also known as a pioneer in...

     is a rabbinical seminary in New York, which ordains women as well as men as rabbis, and does not ordain cantors of either sex. It is a transdenominational rabbinical seminary in the Neo-Hasidic tradition.
  • The Union for Traditional Judaism
    Union for Traditional Judaism
    The Union for Traditional Judaism is an ostensibly non-denominational Jewish educational, outreach and communal service organization. The UTJ, as it is known, sees itself as trans-denominational, and works to encourage traditional observance among all Jews. The UTJ maintains various educational...

     (UTJ), an offshoot of the left-wing of Orthodoxy and the right-wing of Conservative Judaism, has a non-denominational seminary in New Jersey
    New Jersey
    New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

    ; the seminary is accepted by all non-Orthodox rabbis as a valid, traditional rabbinical seminary. The vast majority of Orthodox Jews do not recognize ordination from UTJ. However, it bridges Conservative and Orthodox Judaism, and Modern Orthodox synagogues have hired UTJ rabbis. Though the more mainstream body of Modern Orthodox Judaism, such as the Rabbinical Council of America, does not recognize ordination from UTJ. UTJ only ordains men as rabbis and cantors.

Interdenominational recognition




Historically and until the present, recognition of a rabbi relates to a community's perception of the rabbi's competence to interpret Jewish law and act as a teacher on central matters within Judaism. More broadly speaking, it is also an issue of being a worthy successor to a sacred legacy.

As a result, there have always been greater or lesser disputes about the legitimacy and authority of rabbis. Historical examples include Samaritans and Karaites.

The divisions between the various religious branches within Judaism may have their most pronounced manifestation on whether rabbis from one movement recognize the legitimacy or the authority of rabbis in another.

As a general rule within Orthodoxy and among some in the Conservative movement, rabbis are reluctant to accept the authority of other rabbis whose Halakhic standards are not as strict as their own. In some cases, this leads to an outright rejection of even the legitimacy of other rabbis; in others, the more lenient rabbi may be recognized as a spiritual leader of a particular community but may not be accepted as a credible authority on Jewish law.
  • The Orthodox rabbinical establishment rejects the validity of Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis on the grounds that their movements' teachings are in violation of traditional Jewish tenets. Some Modern Orthodox
    Modern Orthodox Judaism
    Modern Orthodox Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law, with the secular, modern world....

     rabbis are respectful toward non-Orthodox rabbis and focus on commonalities even as they disagree on interpretation of some areas of Halakha (with Conservative rabbis) or the authority of Halakha (with Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis).
  • Conservative rabbis accept the legitimacy of Orthodox rabbis, though they are often critical of Orthodox positions. Although they would rarely look to Reform or Reconstructionist rabbis for Halakhic decisions, they accept the legitimacy of these rabbis' religious leadership.
  • Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis, on the premise that all the main movements are legitimate expressions of Judaism, will accept the legitimacy of other rabbis' leadership, though will not accept their views on Jewish law, since Reform and Reconstructionism reject Halakha as binding.


These debates cause great problems for recognition of Jewish marriages, conversions, and other life decisions that are touched by Jewish law. Orthodox rabbis do not recognize conversions by non-Orthodox rabbis. Conservative rabbis recognise all conversions done according to halakha. Finally, the North American Reform and Reconstructionst movemements recognize patrilineality
Patrilineality
Patrilineality is a system in which one belongs to one's father's lineage. It generally involves the inheritance of property, names or titles through the male line as well....

, under certain circumstances, as a valid claim towards Judaism, whereas Conservative and Orthodox maintain the position expressed in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 and Codes that one can be a Jew only through matrilineality
Matrilineality
Matrilineality is a system in which descent is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors. Matrilineality is also a societal system in which one belongs to one's matriline or mother's lineage, which can involve the inheritance of property and/or titles.A matriline is a line of descent from a...

 (born of a Jewish mother) or through conversion to Judaism
Conversion to Judaism
Conversion to Judaism is a formal act undertaken by a non-Jewish person who wishes to be recognised as a full member of the Jewish community. A Jewish conversion is both a religious act and an expression of association with the Jewish people...

.

Women



With some rare exceptions (see below), women historically have generally not served as rabbis until the modern era. Today all types of Judaism except for Orthodox Judaism allow and do have female rabbis .

In Orthodox Judaism, women cannot become rabbis, although there is no prohibition against women learning halakhah that pertains to them, nor is it any more problematic for a woman to rule on such issues than it is for any lay person to do so. Rather, the issue lies in the rabbi's position of communal authority. Following the ruling of the talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, the decisors of Jewish law held that women were not allowed to serve in positions of authority over a community, such as judges or kings. The position of official rabbi of a community, mara de'atra ("master of the place"), has generally been treated in the responsa
Responsa
Responsa comprise a body of written decisions and rulings given by legal scholars in response to questions addressed to them.-In the Roman Empire:Roman law recognised responsa prudentium, i.e...

 as such a position. This ruling is still followed in traditional and orthodox circles but has been relaxed in branches like Conservative and Reform Judaism that are less strict in their adherence to traditional Jewish law.

There were some rare cases of women acting as rabbis in earlier centuries, such as the 17th century Asenath Barzani
Asenath Barzani
Tanna’it Asenath Barzani was a renowned Kurdish Jewish woman who lived in Mosul, Iraq. She was the daughter of the illustrious Rabbi Samuel Barzani. She studied Kabbalah.-The life of Tanna’it Asenath:...

, who acted as a rabbi among Kurdish Jews
Kurdish Jews
Kurdish Jews or Kurdistani Jews are the ancient Eastern Jewish communities, inhabiting the region known as Kurdistan in northern Mesopotamia, roughly covering parts of Iran, northern Iraq, Syria and eastern Turkey. Their clothing and culture is similar to neighbouring Kurdish Muslims and Christian...

 http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/19679/rumors-flow-in-turkey-kurdish-leader-is-a-jew/. Hannah Rachel Verbermacher, also known as the Maiden of Ludmir, was a 19th century Hasidic rebbe, the only female rebbe in the history of Hasidism.

The first formally ordained female rabbi was Regina Jonas
Regina Jonas
Regina Jonas was a Berlin-born rabbi. In 1935, she became the first Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi .-Early life:She became orphaned from her father when she was very young...

, ordained in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in 1935 . Since 1972, when Sally Priesand
Sally Priesand
Sally Jane Priesand is America's first ordained female rabbi, and the second ordained female rabbi in the world, after Regina Jonas.-Early life:...

 became the first female rabbi in Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 , Reform Judaism's Hebrew Union College
Hebrew Union College
The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the oldest extant Jewish seminary in the Americas and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism.HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.The Jerusalem...

 has ordained 552 women rabbis (as of 2008).

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is the first woman to have been ordained a rabbi in the Reconstructionist movement of Judaism. She was ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia, on May 19, 1974. She is also an author of many children's book on religious topics.-Youth and Early...

 became the first female rabbi in Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism
Reconstructionist Judaism is a modern American-based Jewish movement based on the ideas of Mordecai Kaplan . The movement views Judaism as a progressively evolving civilization. It originated as a branch of Conservative Judaism, before it splintered...

 in 1974 (one of 110 by 2006); and Amy Eilberg
Amy Eilberg
Amy Eilberg is the first female rabbi ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, one of the academic centers and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism.-Youth and early life:...

 became the first female rabbi in Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

 in 1985 (one of 177 by 2006). Lynn Gottlieb
Lynn Gottlieb
Lynn Gottlieb, born April 12, 1949, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is an American rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement . Gottlieb entered pulpit life at the age of 23 in 1973, as leader of Temple Beth Or of the Deaf in New York City. In 1981, she became the first woman ordained as a rabbi in the...

 became the first female rabbi in Jewish Renewal
Jewish Renewal
Jewish Renewal , is a recent movement in Judaism which endeavors to reinvigorate modern Judaism with mystical, Hasidic, musical and meditative practices...

 in 1981 , and Tamara Kolton became the very first rabbi (and therefore, since she was female, the first female rabbi) in Humanistic Judaism
Humanistic Judaism
Humanistic Judaism is a movement in Judaism that offers a nontheistic alternative in contemporary Jewish life. It defines Judaism as the cultural and historical experience of the Jewish people and encourages humanistic and secular Jews to celebrate their Jewish identity by participating in Jewish...

 in 1999 . In 2009 Alysa Stanton
Alysa Stanton
Alysa Stanton is an African-American Jew. On June 6, 2009, she was ordained as the first African-American female rabbi. In August 2009 she began work as a rabbi at Congregation Bayt Shalom, a small majority-white synagogue in Greenville, North Carolina, making her the first African-American rabbi...

 became the world's first African-American female rabbi.

In Europe, Leo Baeck College
Leo Baeck College
Leo Baeck College is a rabbinical college and centre for Jewish education located in north London. As well as being the smallest academic college in England, it is also the largest Jewish Progressive University and Rabbinic College in Europe....

 had ordained 30 female rabbis by 2006 (out of 158 ordinations in total since 1956), starting with Jackie Tabick
Jackie Tabick
Jacqueline "Jackie" Tabick is the Rabbi at North West Surrey Synagogue, a constituent of the Movement for Reform Judaism. She was the first female rabbi in Britain.-Early life and training:...

 in 1975.

The consensus of the Orthodox Jewish community has been that women are ineligible to becoming rabbis; the growing calls for Orthodox yeshivas to admit women as rabbinical students have resulted in widespread opposition among the Orthodox rabbinate. Rabbi Norman Lamm
Norman Lamm
Norman Lamm is a major American Modern Orthodox rabbi, scholar, author and Jewish communal leader. He is presently the Chancellor of Yeshiva University....

, one of the leaders of Modern Orthodoxy
Modern Orthodox Judaism
Modern Orthodox Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law, with the secular, modern world....

 and Rosh Yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva
Rosh yeshiva, , , is the title given to the dean of a Talmudical academy . It is made up of the Hebrew words rosh — meaning head, and yeshiva — a school of religious Jewish education...

 of Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University
Yeshiva University is a private university in New York City, with six campuses in New York and one in Israel. Founded in 1886, it is a research university ranked as 45th in the US among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2012...

's Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary
Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary , or Yeshivat Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanan, is the rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University, located in Washington Heights, New York. It is named after Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor, who died the year it was founded, 1896...

, opposes giving semicha to women. "It shakes the boundaries of tradition, and I would never allow it." (Helmreich, 1997) Writing in an article in the Jewish Observer, Moshe Y'chiail Friedman states that Orthodox Judaism prohibits women from being given semicha and serving as rabbis. He holds that the trend towards this goal is driven by sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, and not halakha ("Jewish law"). In his words, the idea is a "quirky fad." No Orthodox rabbinical association (e.g. Agudath Yisrael, Rabbinical Council of America) has allowed women to be ordained using the term rabbi.

However, in the last twenty years Orthodox Judaism has begun to develop clergy-like roles for women as halakhic court advisors and congregational advisors. Some Orthodox Jewish women now serve in Orthodox Jewish congregations in roles that previously were reserved for males, specifically rabbis. The term rabbanit is sometimes used for women in this role. Sara Hurwitz
Sara Hurwitz
Sara Hurwitz is a Modern Orthodox Jewish spiritual leader who received ordination from Rabbi Avi Weiss. She is the "Rabba" at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in Riverdale, New York and the dean of Yeshivat Maharat in Riverdale, New York....

, considered the first Orthodox woman rabbi, uses the title rabba. Other women in Jewish leadership, like Rachel Kohl Finegold and Lynn Kaye, do not have official titles, but function as de facto assistant rabbis.

In Israel, the Shalom Hartman Institute
Shalom Hartman Institute
Shalom Hartman Institute is a Jewish research and education institute based in Jerusalem, Israel, that offers pluralistic Jewish thought and education to scholars, rabbis, educators, and Jewish community leaders in Israel and North America...

, founded by Orthodox Rabbi David Hartman
David Hartman (rabbi)
David Hartman is an American and Israeli rabbi and philosopher of contemporary Judaism, founder of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, Israel, and a Jewish author.- Early life :...

, opened a program in 2009 that will grant semicha to women and men of all Jewish denominations, including Orthodox Judaism, although the students are meant to "assume the role of 'rabbi-educators' – not pulpit rabbis- in North American community day schools. http://www.hartmaninstitute.com/SHInews_View_Eng.asp?Article_Id=22.

Rabbi Aryeh Strikovski (Machanaim Yeshiva
Machanaim
Machanaim is a word from book of Book of Genesis meaning "two camps".It is also a name of organization dealing with spiritual absorption of Jewish people from the former USSR in Israel. The organization produced many books, classes, especially for conversion...

 and Pardes Institute) worked in the 1990s with Rabbi Avraham Shapira
Avraham Shapira
Avraham Elkanah Kahana Shapira was a prominent rabbi in the Religious Zionist world. Shapira had been the head of the Rabbinical court of Jerusalem, and both a member and the head of the Supreme Rabbinic Court. He served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1983 to 1993...

 (then a co-Chief rabbi
Chief Rabbi
Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

 of Israel) to initiate the program for training Orthodox women as halakhic Toanot ("advocates") in rabbinic courts
Beth din
A beth din, bet din, beit din or beis din is a rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Biblical Land of Israel...

. They have since trained nearly seventy women in Israel. Strikovski states that "The knowledge one requires to become a court advocate is more than a regular ordination, and now to pass certification is much more difficult than to get ordination." Furthermore, Rav Strikovsky granted ordination to Haviva Ner-David
Haviva Ner-David
Haviva Ner-David received her PhD from Bar Ilan University and wrote her thesis concerning the nature of the relationship between Tumah and Niddah . In 1993 she applied to Yeshiva University’s rabbinical program, RIETS and never received an official response...

 (who is American) in 2006, although she has not been able to find a job as a rabbi.

In Israel a growing number of Orthodox women are being trained as yoatzot halachah.
…Strikovski and his colleagues aren't willing to confer a title commensurate with experience. Clarifying his position, he laughs, "If a man passed such a test [on Halacha] we would call him a rabbi – but who cares what you call it?" he says. "Rav Soloveitchik, my teacher, always used to say: 'If you know [Jewish law], then you don't need ordination; and if you don't know, then ordination won't make a difference.'" Further, the title of rabbi only had meaning during the time of the Sanhedrin, he argues. "Later titles were modified from generation to generation and community to community, and now the important thing is not the title but that there is a revolution where women can and do study the oral law." + – :(Feldinger, 2005)


Rahel Berkovits, an Orthodox Talmud teacher at Jerusalem's Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
Pardes is an institute of Jewish learning, focused on primary sources, that is open to post-college men and women. It was founded in 1972 and is located in the neighborhood of Talpiot, Jerusalem....

, states that as a result of such changes in Haredi and Modern Orthodox Judaism, "Orthodox women found and oversee prayer communities, argue cases in rabbinic courts, advise on halachic issues, and dominate in social work activities that are all very associated with the role a rabbi performs, even though these women do not have the official title of rabbi."

The use of Toanot is not restricted to any one segment of Orthodoxy; In Israel they have worked with Haredi and Modern Orthodox Jews. Orthodox women may study the laws of family purity at the same level of detail that Orthodox males do at Nishmat, the Jerusalem Center for Advanced Jewish Study for Women. The purpose is for them to be able to act as halakhic advisors for other women, a role that traditionally was limited to male rabbis. This course of study is overseen by Rabbi Yaakov Varhaftig.

Modern Orthodox trends


Furthermore, several efforts are underway within Modern Orthodox
Modern Orthodox Judaism
Modern Orthodox Judaism is a movement within Orthodox Judaism that attempts to synthesize Jewish values and the observance of Jewish law, with the secular, modern world....

 communities to include qualified women in activities traditionally limited to rabbis:
  • In the United States, Modern Orthodox rabbis Avi Weiss
    Avi Weiss
    Avraham Weiss is an American Modern Orthodox rabbi who heads the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in The Bronx, New York. He is an author, teacher, lecturer, and activist...

     and Saul Berman
    Saul Berman
    Saul J. Berman is a prominent American scholar and leading Modern Orthodox rabbi.As a rabbi, scholar, and educator he has made extensive contributions to the intensification of Jewish education for Jewish women on many levels, to the role of social ethics in synagogue life, and to the...

     created an advanced educational institute for women called Torat Miriam. They do not claim that the graduates of this institute are rabbis, but that the long term goal is to have women "work on a professional level in the synagogue," he said. (Helmreich, 1997)
  • Rabbi Aryeh Strikovski (Mahanayim Yeshiva and Pardes Institute) worked in the 1990s with Rabbi Avraham Shapira
    Avraham Shapira
    Avraham Elkanah Kahana Shapira was a prominent rabbi in the Religious Zionist world. Shapira had been the head of the Rabbinical court of Jerusalem, and both a member and the head of the Supreme Rabbinic Court. He served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1983 to 1993...

     (then a co-Chief rabbi
    Chief Rabbi
    Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

     of Israel) to initiate the program for training Orthodox women as halakhic Toanot ("advocates") in rabbinic courts
    Beth din
    A beth din, bet din, beit din or beis din is a rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Biblical Land of Israel...

    . They have since trained nearly seventy women. Strikovski states that "The knowledge one requires to become a court advocate is more than a regular ordination, and now to pass certification is much more difficult than to get ordination." The use of Toanot is not restricted to any one segment of Orthodoxy; in Israel they have worked with Haredi and Modern Orthodox Jews.
  • In Israel and America a growing number of Orthodox women are being trained as yoatzot halacha ("halachic advisors"), who serve many in communities ranging from Haredi to Modern Orthodox.
  • At Nishmat, the Jerusalem Center for Advanced Jewish Study for Women, Orthodox women may study the laws of family purity at the same level of detail that Orthodox males do. The purpose is for them to be able to act as halakhic advisors for other women, a role that traditionally was limited to male rabbis. This course of study is overseen by Rabbi Yaakov Varhaftig.
  • Rahel Berkovits, an Orthodox Talmud teacher at Jerusalem's Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
    Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies
    Pardes is an institute of Jewish learning, focused on primary sources, that is open to post-college men and women. It was founded in 1972 and is located in the neighborhood of Talpiot, Jerusalem....

    , states that as a result of such changes in Haredi and Modern Orthodox Judaism, "Orthodox women have founded and overseen prayer communities, argue cases in rabbinic courts, advise on halachic issues, and dominate in social work activities that are all very associated with the role a rabbi performs, even though these women do not have the official title of rabbi."
  • In 2009, Orthodox Rabbi Avi Weiss
    Avi Weiss
    Avraham Weiss is an American Modern Orthodox rabbi who heads the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in The Bronx, New York. He is an author, teacher, lecturer, and activist...

     founded Yeshivat Maharat, a school which "is dedicated to giving Orthodox women proficiency in learning and teaching Talmud, understanding Jewish law and its application to everyday life as well as the other tools necessary to be Jewish communal leaders." http://yeshivatmaharat.org/. Those women who graduate from Yeshivat Maharat are given the title of Maharat, which "is an acronym, in Hebrew, for manhigot hilkhatiot, rukhaniot vTorahniot, meaning, someone who is a spiritual leader trained in Torah and the intricacies of Jewish law." http://yeshivatmaharat.org/frequently-asked-questions. They are then placed in Orthodox Jewish synagogues as "spiritual and halakhic leaders," although not rabbis http://yeshivatmaharat.org/frequently-asked-questions.

See also


  • Abraham-Geiger-Kolleg
    Abraham-Geiger-Kolleg
    Abraham Geiger Kolleg is a rabbinic seminary in Potsdam, Germany. The school was founded 1999 as the only seminary in Germany since the Holocaust, when the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin was shut down by the Gestapo...

  • Academy for Jewish Religion in New York
    Academy for Jewish Religion (New York)
    Since its founding in 1956 as a rabbinical school, The Academy for Jewish Religion has been at the forefront of pluralistic rabbinic and cantorial training...

  • Academy for Jewish Religion in California
    Academy for Jewish Religion (California)
    The Academy for Jewish Religion, California , located in the Yitzchak Rabin Hillel Center for Jewish Life at UCLA , trains rabbis, cantors and chaplains to serve congregations and organizations of any denomination.-External links:*...

  • Beth din
    Beth din
    A beth din, bet din, beit din or beis din is a rabbinical court of Judaism. In ancient times, it was the building block of the legal system in the Biblical Land of Israel...

  • Clergy
    Clergy
    Clergy is the generic term used to describe the formal religious leadership within a given religion. A clergyman, churchman or cleric is a member of the clergy, especially one who is a priest, preacher, pastor, or other religious professional....

  • Hebrew College
    Hebrew College
    Hebrew College is an accredited college of Jewish studies in Newton Centre, near Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1921, Hebrew College is committed to Jewish scholarship in a transdenominational academic environment. The president of the college is Rabbi Daniel Lehmann...

  • Hebrew Union College
    Hebrew Union College
    The Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is the oldest extant Jewish seminary in the Americas and the main seminary for training rabbis, cantors, educators and communal workers in Reform Judaism.HUC-JIR has campuses in Cincinnati, New York, Los Angeles and Jerusalem.The Jerusalem...

  • International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism
    International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism
    The International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism is the academic and intellectual center of Humanistic Judaism. It was established in Jerusalem in 1985 and currently has two centers of activity: one in Jerusalem and the other in Farmington Hills, Michigan...

  • Jewish Theological Seminary of America
    Jewish Theological Seminary of America
    The Jewish Theological Seminary of America is one of the academic and spiritual centers of Conservative Judaism, and a major center for academic scholarship in Jewish studies.JTS operates five schools: Albert A...

  • List of rabbis
  • Mashgiach ruchani
    Mashgiach ruchani
    Mashgiach ruchani or mashgiach for short, means a spiritual supervisor or guide. It is a title which usually refers to a rabbi who has an official position within a yeshiva and is responsible for the non-academic areas of yeshiva students' lives.The position of mashgiach ruchani arose with the...

  • Mashpia
    Mashpia
    Mashpia lit. "person of influence", pl. Mashpi'im is the title of a rabbi or rebbetzin who serves as a spiritual mentor in Tomchei Temimim , in a girls' seminary belonging to the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement, or in a Chabad community.-Definition:Although counterparts to the mashpia exist in...

  • Posek
    Posek
    Posek is the term in Jewish law for "decider"—a legal scholar who decides the Halakha in cases of law where previous authorities are inconclusive or in those situations where no halakhic precedent exists....

  • Rabbinical College of America
    Rabbinical College of America
    The Rabbinical College of America is one of the largest Chabad Lubavitch Chasidic Yeshivas in the world. The Yeshiva is located in Morristown, New Jersey and has trained thousands of Rabbinic students. The Yeshiva is supported by Jewish philanthropists such as David T. Chase, and Ronald Lauder of...

  • Rabbinic literature
    Rabbinic literature
    Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

  • Rebbe
    Rebbe
    Rebbe , which means master, teacher, or mentor, is a Yiddish word derived from the Hebrew word Rabbi. It often refers to the leader of a Hasidic Jewish movement...

  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
    Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
    The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College , is located in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, about 10 miles north of central Philadelphia. RRC is the only seminary affiliated with Reconstructionist Judaism. It is accredited by the Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and...

  • Rosh yeshiva
    Rosh yeshiva
    Rosh yeshiva, , , is the title given to the dean of a Talmudical academy . It is made up of the Hebrew words rosh — meaning head, and yeshiva — a school of religious Jewish education...

  • Semicha
    Semicha
    , also , or is derived from a Hebrew word which means to "rely on" or "to be authorized". It generally refers to the ordination of a rabbi within Judaism. In this sense it is the "transmission" of rabbinic authority to give advice or judgment in Jewish law...

  • Synagogue
    Synagogue
    A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

  • United States military chaplain symbols
    United States military chaplain symbols
    Religious symbolism in the United States military includes the use of religious symbols for military chaplain insignia, uniforms, emblems, flags, and chapels; symbolic gestures, actions, and words used in military rituals and ceremonies; and religious symbols or designations used in areas such as...

  • Yeshiva
    Yeshiva
    Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and Torah study. Study is usually done through daily shiurim and in study pairs called chavrutas...

  • Yeshiva University
    Yeshiva University
    Yeshiva University is a private university in New York City, with six campuses in New York and one in Israel. Founded in 1886, it is a research university ranked as 45th in the US among national universities by U.S. News & World Report in 2012...

  • Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
    Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
    Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School is a "Modern Open Orthodox" yeshiva founded in 1999 by Rabbi Avi Weiss.Currently located in Riverdale, New York, it seeks to "recruit, professionally train, and place rabbis" who will promote its founder's philosophy...



Women in Non-Orthodox Judaism

  • Nadell, Pamela. Women Who Would Be Rabbis: A History of Women's Ordination, 1889–1985, Beacon Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8070-3649-8.

Women in Orthodox Judaism

  • Mason Delugoda
  • Debra Nussbau, Cohen, Jewish tradition vs. the modern-day female, March 17, 2000, Jewish Telegraphic Agency
    Jewish Telegraphic Agency
    The Jewish Telegraphic Agency is an international news agency serving Jewish community newspapers and media around the world. The JTA was founded on February 6, 1917, by Jacob Landau as the Jewish Correspondence Bureau in The Hague with the mandate of collecting and disseminating news among and...

  • Lauren Gelfond Feldinger, The Next Feminist Revolution, The Jerusalem Post
    The Jerusalem Post
    The Jerusalem Post is an Israeli daily English-language broadsheet newspaper, founded on December 1, 1932 by Gershon Agron as The Palestine Post. The daily readership numbers do not approach those of the major Hebrew newspapers....

    , March 17, 2005
  • Moshe Y'chiail Freidman, Women in the Rabbinate, Jewish Observer, 17:8, 1984, 28-29.
  • Laurie Goodstein, Causing a Stir, 2 Synagogues Hire Women to Aid Rabbis, February 6, 1998, New York Times
  • Jeff Helmreich, Orthodox women moving toward religious leadership, Friday June 6, 1997, Long Island Jewish World
  • Marilyn Henry, Orthodox women crossing threshold into synagogue, Jerusalem Post Service, May 15, 1998
  • Jonathan Mark, Women Take Giant Step In Orthodox Community: Prominent Manhattan shul hires ‘congregational intern’ for wide-ranging spiritual duties, The Jewish Week December 19, 1997
  • Emanuel Rackman
    Emanuel Rackman
    Rabbi Emanuel Rackman was an American Modern Orthodox Rabbi, who held pulpits in major congregations and helped draw attention to the plight of Refuseniks in the then-Soviet Union and attempted to resolve the dilemma of the Agunah, a woman who cannot remarry because her husband will not grant a...

    , (Women as Rabbis) Suggestions for Alternatives, Judaism , Vol.33, No.1, 1990, p. 66-69.
  • Ben Greenberg, Women Orthodox Rabbis: Heresy or Possibility?, First Things, October 2009
  • Gil Student, When Values Collide, First Things, September 2009
  • Mimi Feigelson, Yeshivah Student, Feminine Gender, Eretz Acheret Magazine

External links