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Shalom Chaverim

Been away for a while, thought I would add $.02.

Women are ordained in every branch of Judaism as Rabbis except the Orthodox, and with people like Blu Greenberg, it's only a matter of time before some Orthodox communities allow women Rabbis as well. Some Orthodox communities will probably never allow it.

I think women should be allowed to be Rabbis because it is an expression of personal freedom for them, and perhaps just as importantly, they have something to contribute that will enrich Judaism.

As far as different factions in Judaism, this has been going on since Biblical times. Juast ask the Karaites. The Orthodox have no Halachic monopoly.

What about the Pharisees, Sadducees and Essenes? Which of those were the 'real' Jews. How about the Hasidim? They were excommunicated by the Mitnadgim for a century in the late 1700's. Are Hasidim not real Jews?

How about the Lumba tribe in South African. It seems they carry the Kohain gene in the same proportion of their population that the rest of worldwide Judaism does. This is strong evidence that they are directly descended from Aarons family, and even though they are as black as night, they keep kosher and have many traditions that are clearly Judaic in origin. They converted to Christianity centuries ago. So here you have a group of Africans who are arguably biologically Jewish, who are also Christian.

The Falashas of Ethiopia are another example.

And there is no uniformity within the Orthodox community on many issues. What about the Satmars versus the Lubavitchers? Which one of these groups have the authority over Halacha?

Judaism has survived over the centuries because it has managed to be adaptable. In the Talmud, Hillel usually wins over Shamai. So, although we need to guard our heritage, no Jewish group in history has had an eternal monoply on defining who is a Jew, and none ever will.

Dov Baer

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