Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests


Charmed by the First Black Woman Rabbi

posted by David Klinghoffer

Though I find Reform Judaism to be massively deluded about Torah and Jewish faith, it also has its good points. For example, I’m charmed and cheered by the news that the first female African-American rabbi will receive ordination from the Reform Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. As the Jerusalem Post reports, Alysa Stanton is a psychotherapist, adoptive mother of a 14-year-old daughter, and a convert to Reform Judaism. Her big day is June 6. After that, she’ll be taking a job at the pulpit of a Conservative temple in Greenville, NC. 

Why am I charmed and cheered, despite doubts about the ordination of women rabbis in general? 
An Orthodox rabbi I know makes the profound point that Judaism is in a shattered condition. No Jewish movement or thought stream has it all together, reflecting the full truth and grandeur of Torah. But each has something unique of value to contribute that the others don’t. That goes for the liberal Reform and Conservative movements, too. Of course, different streams may have far more, or quite a bit less, to contribute. This is not about spiritual equivalence or interchangeability.

As I described somewhat controversially in my first book, I grew up in a Reform temple. I remember the admirable sense of decorum that prevailed — a quality you don’t always find in Orthodox synagogues. I would add that arguably this new milestone, the ordination of Alysa Stanton, gives evidence of another virtue of Reform Judaism. She reminds us that Judaism isn’t a race, it’s not an ethnicity, it’s not a tribe. Judaism is an idea, intended to be shared with the world. Some Orthodox Jews loose sight of that elementary fact.
The Jewish idea was initially given to a particular extended family linked by blood. But no sooner did the Israelites leave Egypt on their way to receive the Torah than they began to attract converts — first, in the person of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law.
Admittedly, Reform Judaism gets the idea wrong much of the time. But let’s give partial credit at least.
Click through the JPost link above to the picture of Alysa Stanton. There’s something very warm and nurturing, yet also strong, about the look of this woman. Mazal tov to her.


Advertisement
Comments read comments(4)
post a comment
leora

posted May 18, 2009 at 10:37 pm


Is your mazal tov sincere? ;)



report abuse
 

David Klinghoffer

posted May 18, 2009 at 10:53 pm


Leora — of course!



report abuse
 

Yirmi

posted May 19, 2009 at 12:14 am


A (black) Swaziland prince, Natan Gamedze, converted to Judaism and is now an Orthodox rabbi in Israel.
Hundreds of Ugandans recently converted to Judaism under Conservative auspices. I think they would’ve converted Orthodox, but had trouble meeting Orthodox standards.
I also remember reading that a Japanese American converted to Orthodox Judaism and is now a rabbi.
In any event, Y-Love is a African-American who converted to Orthodox Judaism, joined a Chassidic group, and is now a well-known rapper, the first to rap in Aramaic (in addition to other languages)!



report abuse
 

Joseph

posted May 19, 2009 at 9:08 pm


The Lubavitchers did it first:)
The orthodox are color blind..it is not an issue..race is an artificial construct…
CrownHeights.info and the Shluchim Office would like to join with all other shluchim in wishing a hearty Mazal Tov to Rabbi Enan, Gitty Francis and their two children, who have BH newly joined the ranks of the Rebbe’s Shluchim. Brought down by Rabbi Shea Hecht, they will be taking on the position of Principal at the Southern Connecticut Hebrew Academy of Orange CT



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

Another Blog To Enjoy!!!
Thank you for visiting Kingdom of Priests. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here is another blog you may also enjoy: Kabballah Counseling Happy Reading!

posted 11:24:22am Aug. 16, 2012 | read full post »

Animal Wisdom: The Voice of the Serpent
Our family watched Jaws together the other evening -- which, in case you're wondering, I regard as responsible parenting since our kids are basically too young to be genuinely scared by the film. The whole rest of the next day, two-year-old Saul was chattering about the "shark teeth." "Shark teeth g

posted 3:56:33pm Mar. 16, 2010 | read full post »

Reading Wesley Smith: Why the Darwin Debate Matters
If the intelligent-design side in the evolution debate doesn't receive the support you might expect from people who should be allies, that may be because they haven't grasped why the whole thing matters so urgently. I got an email recently from a journalist whom I'd queried on the subject. "All told

posted 5:07:12pm Mar. 15, 2010 | read full post »

The Mission of the Jews
Don't miss my essay over at First Things on the mission of the Jews to the world. This, I think, the key idea that the Jewish community needs to absorb at this very unusual cultural moment, for the time is so, so right. Non-Jews are waiting for us to fulfill the roll God gave us in the Torah. Please

posted 6:14:16pm Mar. 05, 2010 | read full post »

Darwin at the Mountains of Madness: Evolution & the Occult
Of all the regrettable cultural forces that Darwinism helped unleash, perhaps the most surprising and seemingly unlikely is its role in sparking the creation of modern occultism. Charles Darwin himself could not have been less interested in the topic. But no attempt to assess the scope of his legacy

posted 2:04:11pm Mar. 04, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.