Women, get out of the kitchen. That’s what Israel’s haredi-controlled scandal-prone Chief Rabbinate is telling 16 women who graduated a kosher supervision training course sponsored by the Emanah women’s organization.
Women, Get Out Of The Kitchen, Israel’s Haredi-Controlled Chief Rabbinate Says
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Women, get out of the kitchen.
That’s what Israel’s haredi-controlled scandal-prone Chief Rabbinate is telling 16 women who graduated a kosher supervision training course sponsored by the Zionist Orthodox Emunah women’s organization, Ynet reported.
The women want jobs as kosher supervisors in restaurants, but the rabbinate will not allow it – even though there is no bar in halakha (Jewish law) to having women fill such roles.
The women filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice last week, asking that the court order the chief rabbinate to recognize the certification of 16 women so they can work.
Around the world, including in the US, women work as kosher supervisors – even for some haredi organizations.
But in Israel, one of the bars women face is a regulation from the Chief Rabbinate that requires that any person who wants to take a certification test for any rabbinate-controlled position must have a certificate proving that he has studied in a yeshiva for a minimum of four years after the age of 18."
That regulation, the women argue, "completely blocks women from serving as kashrut supervisors, as women are not allowed to study in a yeshiva or a kollel… This stance perpetuates serious damage to the legal right of freedom of occupation."
The petition also notes that the women have repeatedly asked both the Ministry of Religious Services and the Chief Rabbinate to recognize the Emunah course – which used curriculum recognized by the Chief Rabbinate and which included the full spectrum of topics required. But despite having a discussion with the Chief Rabbinate’s Council about the issue and seeing the Chief Rabbinate appoint a committee to investigate the issue, the Chief Rabbinate has still failed to act.
The women also noted that there are no criteria for recognizing kosher supervision courses and, even if there were such criteria, there is no reason to disqualify Emunah’s.
Two haredi women who completed the Emanah organization’s course, Emunah and Avivit Ravia, filed the petition. They asked the court to deal with the issue urgently because the rabbinate’s current position is preventing themselves and the other 14 women from working and is causing them all serious damage as a result.
An investigative report by Makor Rishon last November showed that Sefardi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar was blocking the Emunah women for "modesty" reasons – even though most kitchen employees the women whould be working with are females.
That report also found that Amar had a political reason for blocking the Emunah women.
"The discussion on whether a woman can be employed as a supervisor is not purely halakhic, but is part of efforts made by different organizations interested in creating a public discussion on the issue of equality for women in public life,” Amar reportedly wrote in an internal rabinate document.