Women’s voices must be heard too

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY DOREEN SA­MUELS

ABOVE ALL other con­sid­er­a­tions, the next chief rabbi must be the best man for the job.

So what does that mean from a woman’s per­spec­tive? Thus far, the Chief Rab­binate Trust has en­sured that women’s voices have been heard on an equal foot­ing with their male coun­ter­parts. Ini­ti­ated by the im­me­di­ate past US pres­i­dent, Si­mon Hochhauser, and his trustees, wide-rang­ing con­sul­ta­tion has al­ready taken place with United Synagogue Women, the chairs of gov­er­nors of US schools and the RCUS (Rab­bini­cal Coun­cil of the United Synagogue).

The next stages in the re­cruit­ment process must con­tinue to en­sure that the fe­male per­spec­tive is heard. There is at least one woman mem­ber of the Chief Rab­binate Trust and four women rep­re­sen­ta­tives at the US Trustees ta­ble, who are in po­si­tions of au­thor­ity and in­flu­ence.

As one of these four I hope to use my ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence from the pro­fes­sional, busi­ness, ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­nal worlds, along­side my ex­pe­ri­ences as a woman and an Ortho­dox Jew.

The in­volve­ment of women, sup­ported by clear halachic rul­ings from fore­most Ortho­dox authorities, must be pro­moted by all in­ter­ested par­ties, women as well as men. This ap­proach will en­sure that women take their right­ful place in 21st-cen­tury United Synagogue Ju­daism.

This is no easy task, and the right can­di­date will clearly need to have deep re­serves of courage, skill and te­nac­ity in ad­dress­ing this, as well as many other is­sues.

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