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Conservative Female Rabbi Crosses Lines and Becomes Orthodox

Einat Ramon was the first Conservative rabbah to be ordained in Israel, and a dean of the Conservative Jewry’s rabbinical college who had ordained many rabbis and rabbahs for the movement. She headed many religious battles mostly against the haredim during the 1990’s.

In an open article that was publicized this week, she explains why she crossed the lines and now affiliates herself with Orthodoxy:
“Ironically — that’s how it looks from the passage of years — it turned out that I was looking for Judaism, a deep connection with the Creator of the universe, and a community that studies and prays, but the political battles sideswiped me from the important to the trivial.

Ramon points to becoming a mother as the seminal event that had the greatest impact on her and changed her priorities. But she attributes the ideological revolution she underwent to the shrinking of Conservative Jewry from a third of all Jews in the U.S. to only 18% today — and among the youths, only 10%.

“One of the Conservative rabbis in Israel told me that while for every person who leaves the Orthodox world, many become religious, in the Conservative world we don’t see a similar phenomenon. The feeling among many of our leaders in Israel and abroad is that the Conservative moment is losing the battle in the diaspora in the face of the post-modern world, which is pulling the carpet under those who want to maintain clear boundaries of Jewish law.”

She warns that the same can happen to “Orthodox-lite”: “Those who want to prevent the disappearance of modern Orthodox must be aware of the crises that has begun in the secular, Reform and Conservative world. Clear boundaries must be made on fundamental topics of Jewish law — which the other movements have failed to do. Modern Orthodoxy should be careful to see the Torah world in a positive light and not nullify it because of “western enlightenment” which had and still has plenty of flaws.

“It appears that in our generation, without the secular rebellion against Orthodoxy, the Jewish people wouldn’t have been able to pick themselves up from the ruins and set up the State of Israel. But without a strong Orthodoxy, which sets up boundaries against the destructive immoral forces in the world both from the west and the east, while wisely drawing Jews back to their Jewish essence without compromising on Torah principles, we would be unable to keep the Jewish people in existence in general and Israeli society in particular.

Talking about “partitions” in shul between men and women, she says: “Particularly in our times, when aggressive forces are demanding the total nullification of any differences between men and women, the partition is more important than ever.”

She says about the subversive Women of the Kotel group: “Leave the women’s section at the Kotel alone to the women who come to pray every day…” 

Ramon rejects the so-called haredi takeover of the Kotel and the imposition of a partition which many claim did not exist during the Mandate. “The women during the period of the Mandate who prayed at the Kotel were clothed from head to toe and most congregated at one corner. The reason there was no partition was because of the British oppression of the Jews and the collaboration of the British police and Muslims who see the Kotel until today as a holy place for Muslims. 

“The fact that the District Court intervened and violated the delicate balance at the Kotel is particularly astonishing and displays a lack of respect to Jewish tradition and its leaders. I doubt an Italian court would tell the Pope how to run the prayer arrangements in the Vatican.”


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