JTA has an article that R. Jeffrey Fox, the rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Maharat (which ordains women under the title Maharat, rather than as rabbis), is going to issue a responsum (in Hebrew, a teshuva–an answer) on the question of whether a male rabbi must be present in the mikveh during conversion ceremonies. His answer–to cut to the chase–is no, a male rabbi need not be present. This all comes in the wake of the voyeurism accusations against Rabbi Barry Freundel in Washington D.C.
I’m still waiting.
I don’t mean that I’m still waiting for the responsum. I’m waiting for the rest of the Orthodox world to sign on.
I don’t say this to be flippant. But it can’t possibly escape notice that the leadership at Yeshivat Maharat and its allied male seminary, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, take a lot of hits from the broader Orthodox world for their positions on halakhic issues. I’m not sure–because it’s Facebook, after all–how to take R. Gil Student’s post linking to the JTA-carried press release. His language about a press release on a “halakhic development” in a teshuva makes me think that perhaps he is not so positive on the whole thing, though perhaps his objection is to the procedure of press before teshuva, but I don’t know because I don’t “live in that world,” as it were. Perhaps a reader can enlighten me in the comments.
I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. This could be interesting–but the trend at the Orthodox Union hasn’t gone in favor of the YCT/YM crowd on recent controversial matters, and it’s difficult to know from the outside how far-reaching the YCT/YM crowd’s rulings will be.
So…don’t hold your breath. I’m not holding mine.