Something really exciting happened this week. There is an Orthodox shul in Jerusalem that has hired a woman to be the assistant rabbi. This is amazing on many fronts. It is amazing that it is actually happening in Israel. It is amazing because she is actually being called the assistant rabbi. It is amazing because it is a really well known shul and well known rabbi that has hired her- so hopefully this will lead others to follow in his footsteps. It is amazing because I have seen more articles for her appointment than against.
But that is all the obvious stuff. That is what is being written about. That is the excitement that everyone is sharing in articles and in social media.
What’s not obvious, is all that I’m not sharing on Facebook or in public forums. Which is that I am a bit upset and hurt- even though I am also amazed and over joyed. I am hurt by this rabbi, for when he was approached by the program I was attending in Israel, he said no to taking even an unpaid intern (or at least that is what we were told- it very much could be something else).I am upset at this shul that this women does not have ordination, not is she in a program that is ordaining orthodox women. This just shows to me even more, that potentially the last 5 years of studying might not be for anything. I am disgusted by some organizations and rabbis commending this rabbi for hiring a woman, as they have the power to hire women. And the women they teach, train, and ordain are still without any jobs or internships, and are still told that they are not worth anything.
And so I am a bit hurt and sad. But at the same time I am really excited. My dream of being a rabbi in Israel, might actually be able to happen. I am realizing, especially with my job here in Australia, that there are actually people and rabbis that want women to be having this role. There are people who are looking at the women taking this role, not only as women, but as people who are qualified for leadership and teaching (this is not obvious in the slightest).
I hope that with this appointment, there become many more appointments. And this may be obvious, but I pray that those appointed are dealt with respectfully, and really seen as equal powers and nothing less than they actually are. And may those who are studying be have positive and nurturing experiences. And may those who are searching find something meaningful and fitting swiftly.