Can A Female Become A Rabbi?

Women have generally not served as Rabbis up until the 1970s, when the elite Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion started ordaining women Rabbis. While the Orthodox Judaism doesn’t allow females to become a Rabbi, they are ordained within all branches of Progressive Judaism.

There is no restriction on a woman learning Halakhah, but the main issue lies with their position of communal authority as a Rabbi. According to the experts of the Jewish Law, a woman is not allowed to serve in authoritative positions, and this ruling is still followed by Orthodox Jewish tradition, which believes in Rabbinate being a province of men. Giving Semicha to women is considered illicit in any form, according to the Orthodox.

In contrast to the conventional belief, the Reform and Conservative Judaism are less stern in their adherence to traditional law. However, modern orthodox Judaism has encouraged women to become congregational advisors and halakhic court advisors, which requires more than just an ordination.

Becoming a female Rabbi is no more a daunting task as it used to be.  In fact, a majority of Jewish women serve in congregations at important positons that were previously reserved only for males. The feminine parallel of a Rabbi is generally referred to as Rabbanit, and one can also act as an assistant Rabbi.

Ordination is the confirmation of an individual’s ability to reason, and his mastery of texts. In today’s date, becoming a Rabbi differs vividly from the days of Moses. There is no bestowal of holy status or some magical hands; it’s just the religious knowledge and the ability to lead, irrespective of the gender.

The stereotypical belief that Semicha originated with Moses and was passed down only to men has started to break among the community, and more women are taking leadership positions as religious educators.