One of the most important Zionist Orthodox rabbis in Israel, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan Yaakov Ariel, has reportedly ruled that women must not be allowed to give the sermon during Shabbat prayers at synagogues. Ariel called allowing women to do so an act of "blasphemy" and said such synagogues must be boycotted.
Senior ‘Moderate’ Zionist Orthodox Rabbi Rules That Synagogues Which Allow Women To Speak Must Be Boycotted
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
One of the most important Zionist Orthodox rabbis in Israel, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan Yaakov Ariel, has reportedly ruled that women must not be allowed to give the sermon during Shabbat prayers at synagogues. Ariel called allowing women to do so an act of "blasphemy."
Worshippers are mandated to leave a synagogue which violates the ruling and pray elsewhere, Ariel added.
The ruling is shocking because Ariel is the former president of the moderate Zionist Orthodox Tzohar rabbinical organization.
According to Ynet, a reader of a Zionist Orthodox website asked Ariel what should be done about his synagogue. The reader said women are allowed to deliver sermons in front of the Holy Ark where the Torah scrolls are kept, even though "sometimes the woman is not wearing a head cover and/or has a sleeveless top…not to mention the length of her skirt and the cleavage.…1. Is it even permitted to pray in such a quorum? 2. If it is, is it permitted to walk out during the sermon, as this may offend the woman and other people and cause blasphemy? 3. Is it permitted to say the prayers in which there is no sermon?" the reader reportedly asked.
Ariel reportedly responded by ruling that any participation by women, even if modestly dressed, was blasphemous.
"Throughout the entire prayer men and women must be separated." He stressed that "there is no room for a biblical discourse by women in the middle of the prayer, even if they are dressed modestly, and all the more so when their clothes and appearance are immodest. This is blasphemy.…Go find yourself a different synagogue,” Ariel reportedly ruled.
Ariel also attacked women receiving aliyot (being called up to read from the Torah).
“The public is not permitted to swallow the pride and dignity of the Torah,” Ariel wrote.
Women are banned from receiving aliyot not by a halakha (Jewish law) specifically banning them as women, but by a halakha that says that women should not be allowed to read from the Torah for a congregation as a first resort because allowing a woman to do so makes it appear as if no men are competent to do so, thereby embarrassing the men and the congregation – not the Torah.