Responding to Rabbi Jay Lapidus on his list, "ocrjewish":
> But is the congregation "Orthodox"?
> NEW YORK TIMES | August 21, 2006
> An Orthodox Jewish Woman, and Soon, a Spiritual Leader
> By MICHAEL LUO
> A wife, a mother of three and an expert in Jewish bioethics will become
> the spiritual leader of Kehilat Orach Eliezer, a small Upper West Side
That's the key question, isn't it? By all accounts, in ritual practice, the congregation is Orthodox. But they aren't affiliated with any of the Orthodox organizations. And they were founded as the private minyan of one of the big JTS people. Who davened in an O synagogue when he was able to get out of the house.
She's Orthodox, all her training came from left-wing Mod-O institutions.
But their previous rabbi was the head of the UTJ yeshiva, which is decidedly unOrthodox, as is his view of textual transmission.
Then there are the reports that they couldn't afford a rabbi, so they took on a woman who, not having the "title", could be paid less. A correspondent with connections to UTJ claimed that the UTJ rabbis wanted only full-time positions, so they didn't apply. Their loss - my last two synagogues have had part-time rabbis with (fairly prestigious) day jobs.
So is the synagogue defined by affiliation? If so, not O.
by rabbi? If so, no rabbi to define it.
by practice? If so, O.
by affiliation of earlier rabbis? If so, not O.
I've belonged to unaffiliated Orthodox shuls, but they still made a point of advertising themselves as Orthodox. KOE calls itself "halachic". What's in a name? When one is claiming great strides for a movement to which a label applies, much.
Is it the great stride forward for Orthodox Feminism that its Orthodox Feminist congregants claim? Is it a step backwards for Orthodox Feminism in terms of classical "equal pay for equal work"? Is it irrelevant for Orthodox Feminism because a) the shul doesn't want to be called "Orthodox" or b) because the spiritual leader refuses to be called "rabbi"?