why women should thank President Rivlin

by Leah Bieler

I have a lot of personal connections to the Masorti movement, and in particular to the program that helps children with disabilities celebrate bar and bat mitzvahs. But I think we all can relate to the feeling of powerlessness when you're told your actions/opinions/accomplishments simply don't count. 

But I see a silver lining in President Rivlin's dissing of the movement this week. 


I’m super excited about the decision of Israeli president Rivlin to reneg on his promise and barr Masorti/Conservative rabbis from participating in a bar mitzvah program conceived and executed by the Masorti movement. It means that full women’s religious equality is just around the corner.!

Before you pull something rolling your eyes, hear me out. Why would this program, which the Masorti movement runs all over Israel, be a “Conservative” undertaking? The Masorti movement was addressing a particular need in Israeli religious life. Mainstream Orthodox rabbis refused to officiate at actual bar (and certainly BAT) mitzvah ceremonies for children with a host of disabilities, claiming that halakhically, these children would never be obligated for prayer, and therefore could not have an aliyah, the centerpiece of most every bar mitzvah celebration. So families were drawn to programs run by the Masorti movement, where their children would be permitted to have a complete service, and be recognized as full-fledged members of the adult religious community.


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