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Feb 7, 2013

Rabbanut still delaying decision on female mashgichot kashrut

Exactly a year ago the Rabbanut announced that they were looking into ways to integrate women into the rabbinate system in more ways, perhaps in the role of kashrut supervisors.

I don't know why such a discussion needs to take so long to come to a conclusion and decision, but it seems that a year later and they are still debating the issue and have not come to a decision.

The 'Emuna' organization had started promoting courses to train women as kashrut supervisors. A number of rabbis involved with the Rabbanut, over the past few months, have come out opposed to women being appointed to such positions. They claim all sorts of reasons for their opposition - from it not being tzanua, modest and appropriate, for women to have such jobs, problems with expecting women to remain at events until late into the night in such a capacity, concern that they might not be capable of standing up to kitchen managers or owners when kashrut issues come up, concern that this might be a slippery slope of sorts leading to the demand that women next be appointed as mohels, shochets, and rabbis, etc.

It seems this issue has come up before as well. Emuna actually asked the Rabbanut in 2004 for recognition of a new course. At the time the Rabbanut waffled and delayed, and the issue died down. Since then, Emuna has revived the possibility a number of times, and now seems intent on getting the recognition.

According to Bechadrei, there is a serious dispute in the Rabbinate Council as to how to deal with this. Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar supports the inclusion of women in such positions, saying their is no halachic reason women cannot work in such positions, while Chief Rabbi of Holon Avraham Yosef leads the opposition and also believes that the issue is not one that is purely halachic in nature..

Emuna is already saying that if the Rabbanut continues to delay or if they get a negative response, they might be forced to petition the Supreme Court on the matter. The Rabbanut says they have asked Emuna to wait while they deliberate the issue, and Emuna promoting courses prior to receiving approval is fooling the women - they should wait patiently for a halachic and administrative decision on the matter.

The Rabbanut has shown it is still behind the times. With "mashgichot" already serving in some places around Israel, and outside of Israel mashgichot have been used for a very long time, the Rabbanut should simply approve the issue. If halachically it is acceptable, which it is, they should approve it. It will do them no favors to end up in the Supreme Court fighting an issue that they will definitely lose, especially since halacha allows for it. Concern for tzniyut issues or other practical on-site issues (such as the need to say late at events) can, and should, all be dealt with to find solutions. That need not impede the acceptance of the role and delay the decision.



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2 comments:

  1. Everyone knows that mashgichot are much stricter and better at maintaining kashrut than mashgichim.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good heavens, this is actually an issue?!
    In South Africa as a yeshiva bochur, I did a hashgacha course under the Johannesburg Beth Din. About half the participants were women, as was the instructor.

    ReplyDelete

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