Beit Hillel Conference on Meaningful Service for Women

Rache Tevet-Wiesel
Dozens of rabbis and rabbaniyot from Beit Hillel gathered last Thursday for a special seminar that dealt with the issue of meaningful and significant service for religious girls.

The seminar, which took place at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, was also attended by Brigadier General Rachel Tevet-Wiesel, the Women’s Affairs Advisor to the Chief of Staff, Rabbi Avichai Ronski, former Chief Rabbi of the IDF and currently the Rosh Yeshiva of Itamar, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Ohad Teharlev, Rabbanit Yaffa Geiser, Dr. Tova Genzel, Yadaya Levin, General Director of Bat-Ami, and Rabbi Amit Kola.

Read the highlights of the main speakers

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who participated for the first time in a Beit Hillel event, called for the establishment of a joint Beit Midrah to discuss public policy issues such as women in the army, in order to provide a joint call from rabbis from all across the spectrum the national religious public. The words of Rabbi Eliyahu quickly received a response from Rabbi Meir Nehorai, chairman of Beit Hillel, who agreed to the words of Rabbi Eliyahu. Both sides agreed to work to maker this happen in the near future.

In addition to ongoing efforts for dialogue with those of differing opinions, Beit Hillel will continue to develop its own detailed position paper on the subject to be published in the coming months.

Rabbi Amit Kola, head of the Beit Hillel Halachik Beit Midrash, surveyed the halachik issue of women serving in the army and concluded that it appeared that contemporary authorities that have dealt with this issue seem to have concluded that it is impossible to point to a clear halachik prohibition. Therefore, they were forced to make various arguments, which all seem to stem from the assumption that “it just can’t be.”

Read Beit Hillel’s previous public statement in response to the call for religious women not to serve in the army.

Download the conference source book – 50 pages of information and sources (Hebrew).

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