We've heard over the past few days how one missionary family from America was able to infiltrate a close-knit, Torah-committed chareidi community in the heart of Jerusalem for literally years. But, they did not do it alone. They had a lot of help. Like all planted terrorist cells, they had the help of other locally entrenched Christian organizations, as well as a large bankroll from sponsoring "ministries" abroad. What's worse, however, is that they also received an inordinate amount of assistance from their victims, who are even now having a very difficult time accepting that designation as well as their own part in perpetuating the deception for so long.
After attacking the Torah and chipping away at it for so many years, our enemies - both within and without - have gone full-scale after Judaism itself. And they are doing it in the name of truth and justice, love and tolerance. In my very sad experience, most of our troubles begin with Anglo Jews in Anglo communities. One of the very worst offenders is located in a well-known primarily Anglo yishuv led by an even more well-known Anglo rabbi - R. Shlomo Riskin (who also has close ties to the Vatican) in Efrat located in Gush Etzion. His Ohr Torah Stone education organization has been at the forefront of chipping away at the Torah and as a consequence, Torah Judaism. We can't call it "Orthodoxy" any more because that word has lost all meaning - within today's "Orthodoxy" one finds all the other non-Orthodox and un-Orthodox of Judaism at large.
Not surprisingly, they are a bastion of "Orthodox" Feminism and have been trying for years to find a path toward ordaining women as rabbis. Today, they are celebrating their latest accomplishment in this regard.
An Orthodox synagogue in the West Bank settlement of Efrat has appointed a woman to be the community’s sole spiritual leader, the first time that a woman has held such a position in an Israeli Orthodox community.Rabbanit Shira Marili Mirvis was nominated with the support of 83 percent of the Shirat Hatamar synagogue’s voting members earlier this week, the synagogue announced in a statement Tuesday.Though other women have served as spiritual leaders in Orthodox communities in Israel, in the past it was only alongside a man who was the community’s rabbi....Mirvis admitted that there are “tensions” in her way of life — as a feminist woman in an Orthodox world that nonetheless will not recognize her as a rabbi or grant her the same rights as men — but that she feels she is choosing the way of life she wants.She said that while abroad she was, for the first time, exposed to Reform communities where she saw women taking on roles and activities not accepted in the Orthodox world. The sights, she said, did lead her to question some of the limitations placed on women in Orthodoxy, but she stressed that while there are aspects that bother her, she is consciously choosing the framework she lives in and that is what matters most to her.Rabbanit Shira Marili Mirvis, in April 2021 was chosen to be the spiritual leader for the Shirat Hatamar synagogue in Efrat. (Courtesy) Mirvis said that her rise to lead the community in the Tamar neighborhood of Efrat, began in a spontaneous natural way with people asking her questions of Jewish religious law because they knew she was studying the subject. From there she began to also teach Talmud and give sermons in the synagogue.For the past five years, Mirvis has been a student at the Susi Bradfield Women’s Institute of Halakhic Leadership, a division of the Ohr Torah Stone institute, which runs a course for women in communal leadership and halacha, the body of religious thought prescribing Orthodox life.According to the synagogue statement, the course aims to parallel the Israeli Rabbinate material studied by men in order to become rabbis....“There is no doubt that this is a large step both for her, personally, but also for the place of female Torah leadership in Jewish communities in Israel and worldwide,” said WIHL director Rabbanit Devorah Evron.The head of the Efrat municipal council Oded Revivi also praised her appointment saying it is “a natural and welcome process” and that other women will follow her lead.The founding Chief Rabbi of Efrat, Shlomo Riskin, a leading figure in the Orthodox Zionist community, also gave his support to the development, the Kipa website reported.
...Last week, ITIM, the Jewish life advocacy organization I direct, filed a lawsuit in an Israeli regional labor court on behalf of an Ethiopian-Israeli mikveh (ritual bath) attendant discriminated against by a municipal rabbi. The rabbi, who is responsible for supervision of Jewish law in the municipality and is a state employee, directly challenged the mikveh attendant’s Jewish identity, and urged women not to use her services because of her Ethiopian ethnicity....In November 2016, the municipal rabbi called the plaintiff and asked if she had assisted women in the mikveh that evening. Yes, she said, she had. Next, he asked if she was Ethiopian. Yes, she said, she was. And had she converted to Judaism? No, she said, she had not converted to Judaism.She had no reason to convert, because she was Jewish when she immigrated to Israel.