Sunday, October 20, 2019

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It is wonderful to read that the RCBC is supporting Torah law and maintaining our mesorah with regard to female clergy (“RCBC Draws Boundary Line on Women Rabbis,” February 6, 2019). I am a baalat teshuva. I came to be a Torah observant Jew because I believed that mitzvot observance not only makes me a better person, but also allows me to “live the prophecy.” Judaism is special. It is a gift that requires constant and careful handling. Hashem entrusted us with laws that will ensure that this gift endures.

However, history has shown us that we should be wary to change these laws just because “the times” are different. God commands us to be separate for this reason. Jews and Judaism have survived because there were always those among us who followed the halacha and didn’t bow to the pressure of societal norms.

Adults and children are bombarded today with so many messages and events that conflict with the laws of the Torah - intermarriage, female clergy and same sex marriage, to name a few. We are under tremendous pressure to embrace all the new ideas or threatened that we will be ostracized if we don’t embrace them. In the arc of Jewish history, they create the slippery slope that actually challenges and threatens our survival.

It is with this perspective that I salute the RCBC for taking a clear stand regarding female clergy, based on settled Torah law. They have received tremendous positive feedback from normative Jewish communities around the country and the world for standing up for Torah values. At a time when we are increasingly condemned by others for expressing an opinion which is grounded in Torah-based law, it is heartening to know that there is an organization that will not let our 5000+ year value system be torn asunder.

There is a reason why Jews have not become extinct, surviving countless and continuous attempts to annihilate us. We cling to a living Torah which sustains us. The laws that Moshe Rabbeinu received at Mt. Sinai are as alive today as they were then. I am proud to live in a community that accepts these facts. We embrace all Jews but we live by a Torah and mesorah that tells us how to do it so we all survive.

Nancy Neff