Women’s Rabbinic Network (WRN) & Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR)
Official Joint Statement on the
Rabbinical Council of America’s (RCA) Ban against Women Rabbis
For Immediate Release – Tuesday, November 3, 2015
At the spring assembly of the Rabbinical Council of America’s (RCA) 51st Annual Convention held in Scarsdale, NY on April 26, 2010 a unanimous resolution passed amongst rabbinic leadership, stating that women can not be ordained and be considered rabbis or any other name that designates rabbinic status. This past week, that resolution was formally adopted by a direct vote of the RCA membership. Despite the fact that this resolution had already been publicized in 2010 and reasserted in 2013, the RCA now found it necessary to restate and adopt, once again, a resolution as of October 30, 2015 that bans half the population of its constituency to perform the sacred tasks of spiritual leadership.
Using the phrase “a violation of our mesorah (tradition),” leaders of the RCA have condemned any persons or institutions granting ordination to women and proclaimed that they will under no circumstances be recognized. We note, with dismay, that the RCA leadership, comprised only of men, is once again determining what Jewish tradition and law proscribe for women.
As such, we, the Women’s Rabbinic Network and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, hereby stand with unequivocal support of ANY woman, who after appropriate, rigorous study and counsel through a recognized rabbinical seminary is ordained by said institution. We applaud these women and their commitment to the study of Jewish law, history and culture for the sake of transmitting our sacred tradition to future generations. We also commend the rabbis and lay leaders who have taken the bold step of teaching, supporting and hiring these newly ordained women as clergy. We stand together with our new Orthodox colleagues who, together with us, work to ensure that Judaism is alive and thriving for all Jewish people who wish to be included in our sacred community.