Adv. Keren Horowitz and Adv. Shay Zilberberg presented our petition in the court to include women in the council for the Chief Rabbinate, this week. While it was not accepted this time, it was still a success in that we were encouraged to appeal again in the future, and it was acknowledged that the current exclusion of women in the council is unacceptable and that a change has to be made.
Last week, an important ruling was made in the struggle for appropriate representation of women in the religious institutions, in the framework of a petition filed by the Rackman Center and Ne’emanei Torah v’Avodah, demanding the selection of women within the framework of the ten rabbis appointed to the electing assembly.
Adv. Keren Horowitz and Adv. Shay Zilberberg of the Rackman Center represented the petition.
Despite the disappointment in dismissing the petition out of hand (for reasons of delay), the three judges were united in a clear statement about the merits of our arguments, and all three of them actually invited us to appeal again at the next round of elections to the Chief Rabbinate Council, and even promised that the petition will be heard on these merits , and we will not find ourselves trapped again in a catch 22 – in the words of Justice Handel.
The Supreme Court recognizes that the inappropriate situation of the lack of representation of women in the assembly that elects the Chief Rabbinate Council, as well as the Chief Rabbis, is shameful, and even if our petition was accepted, the Supreme Court judges declared that even then, it was only a request for a tiny representation. Furthermore, both Justice Hendel and Justice Barak’s remarks indicated a readiness for broad interpretation of the term “rabbi,” which allows for the inclusion of a woman so long as she has a broad Torah education and is a respected leader in Torah and Halacha.