2017-09-13 / World News

Brooklyn Orthodox shul hires woman spiritual leader

A modern Orthodox synagogue in Brooklyn has hired a woman as its spiritual leader, the latest in a handful of Orthodox synagogues to hire a woman to a clergy position.

Prospect Heights Shul, a congregation in the neighborhood of the same name, has hired Michal Kohane as its interim spiritual leader to serve under Senior Rabbi Ysoscher Katz. Her title, rosh kehila, translates in English to “head of the community.”

Because the synagogue is Orthodox, Kohane will not lead services, nor will she have the authority to rule on matters of Jewish law. A news release from the synagogue said Kohane will host community events and serve as a “teacher and spiritual guide.”

“Michal has all the essential qualities necessary for successful spiritual leadership: She combines knowledge of Torah, passion for Yiddishkeit, and extreme sensitivity to others,” Katz said in the news release, using a Yiddish term for Judaism.

As of May, four Orthodox synagogues in the United States employed women as clergy. All are graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, a liberal Orthodox seminary for women, where Kohane is a student set to graduate in 2020. (JTA)

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