Posted by: Leah | January 2, 2012

Challenges of Female Rabbis

I have recently read an article in Voices of Coservative/Masorti Judaism. The article was on the challenges that women rabbis face.

Here is the link to this article:

I think  the problem with female rabbis is that they often take a role of a MOTHER of a congregation, and I don’t feel I need to be parented. Alternatively, they act as a therapist – and again this is great, and works for many people, but just not for me. Women struggle to establish themselves as Halacha experts, community confidants, a friendly face, a lawyer for Jews, and offciant at ceremonies and just somebody who is expected to be always ready to listen or visit. The part of the challenge is that in the event of a male Rabbi, his wife is often a part of the team – helping him to do his work, working with the community or making sure their households runs. In the event of female Rabbis, their husnbands are often not as supportive.

I believe that issues that female Rabbis have working in their jobs are not often not that job specific. Yes, there are congregations that are not ready for women rabbis, but often younger female rabbis are not hired because they will at some point of time have children, and this will interfere with their work. Mind you, nobody questions younger male rabbis in the same situation – the expectation is that wives will take care of it. This is applicable to all kinds of professions including public law practices (women partners – well still not so many), accounting practices, the army.

The glass ceiling described in this article is not only because of the society attitudes, but because often we, women, encourage it by bending the rules, not pursuing our dreams, not being firm enough to insist on something important to us and plainly spoilng our kids rotten, so they carry the same ideas into their lives: moms sacrifice. Well, women do! But men do as well.

As much as I would like to blame it all on guys, I honestly can’t; I think we are also responsible for a part of our problems at least in the developed world. If we stick to our goals and dreams, all kinds of female professionals, including rabbis will have it eventually easier.


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