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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chief Rabbi Mirvis: Daunting road ahead

Shulchan Aruch  (PD-RusEmpire)
In trying to be a friend to many with differing religious perspectives, the United Kingdom's chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis faces a daunting road ahead.

As the new head of the Orthodox "United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth" (a position that was created back in 1704 when
Orthodox Judaism was more uniformly dominant), Mirvis is seeking to also befriend Jews within other movements (such as Reform, Liberal and "cultural").

Not only does Mirvis face challenges from other movements, but he is also facing challenges from within his own.  Robert Pigott of BBC News reports on a growing wave of feminism within Orthodox

Some Orthodox women are seeking greater leadership roles within synagogues.  Although Mirvis has already overseen "the appointment of a woman as the senior member of his congregation's education team," many feel that this is not enough of a feminist leap forward.

There have also been some complaints by female Reform rabbis that their ordinations have not been properly recognized by the Orthodox movement.  Pigott reports that Mirvis "would only say that different religious groups had their own criteria through which they appointed spiritual leaders and it was not for him to determine how they did it."

Nevertheless, Mirvis affirmed that he is "totally dedicated and committed to work with the non-Orthodox community."  He also added:  We have to build on what unites us and not to concentrate on what separates us.


Copyright September 4, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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