Shira Chadasha’s new spiritual dynamo (a female): some questions

They might ask:

  1. whether she answers Men’s Shaylos?
  2. why shira chadasha doesn’t have daily minyanim
  3. whether vegan and vegetarian restaurants are kosher (of course they are not!)
  4. which side of the “mechitza” members of LGBTI who identify as such should sit
  5. whether Avi Weiss is considered a world-renowned posek
  6. whether she consider herself open orthodox (and not part of the Orthodox community, as affirmed by the RCA (and should be affirmed with the RCV)
  7. whether a woman should wear a head covering to shule and if so, why?
  8. What length sleeves are halachically mandated as covering Erva
  9. Whether dresses should cover the knee even when a woman sits
  10. Whether she encourages Shira Chadasha men to wear a Tallis Kotton
  11. Whether she will eat from RMG Rabi’s kashrut business
  12. Whether supervising Rabbis should be involved in their Kashrus as a business concern
  13. Whether she supports Rav Soloveitchik’s view on interfaith dialogue
  14. Whether she considers Prof Sperber as a Gadol HaDor
  15. How much of the female chest should be revealed in a t-shirt. Up to the breast bone, or below? Is cleavage permitted?
  16. Whether men could take on the lighting of Shabbos candles if they felt strongly they wanted to do it
  17. Whether tight jeans/pants are permissible?
  18. Whether women should dispense with Tichels and hats as they are anachronistic today … 
  19. Whether she believes that Carlebach is guilty of any of the crimes alleged against him
  20. Whether mixed swimming is permitted
  21. Whether mixed dancing without a mechitza is permitted
  22. Whether a man or woman who exposes Erva should be given an honour in Shule
  23. Whether she believes that every word of the Torah is directly from God
  24. What her understanding of Mesora is
  25. Whether she believes the Jews accepted the Oral Law at Sinai
  26. What makes up the Oral Law.
  27. Whether she considers Reform or Conservative conversions valid
  28. Whether she would lie when reading a Ksuba and say a bride was a virgin if she knew she was not?
  29. Whether she would change the Ksuba so it states whether the groom is a virgin
  30. Whether she follows R’ Moshe Feinstein’s view that women who are attracted to such groups and who do so for equality and/or feminism are doing so for foreign reasons
  31. Whether she will decide Nida questions
  32. Whether she considers herself a witness at a wedding ceremony
  33. Whether entering a Reform Temple is permitted
  34. Whether Open Orthodoxy will really emerge as the new Conservative movement
  35. Whether there is anyone at Avi Weiss’s institution with the level of knowledge as Rabbi Shaul Liberman?
  36. Does a woman have to wear tzitzis on a large body scarf
  37. Should a man wear a Yarmulka all day
  38. Should a woman wear a Yarmulka all day
  39. Should a man wear a Yarmulka if he is eating in a Vegetarian restaurant? Should he may a bracha?
  40. Does she think settlements are an impediment to peace
  41. Does she think any Israeli prime minister should sit down with a Palestinian leader unless the latter agrees Israel is THE JEWISH homeland?
  42. Is Donald Trump racist?
  43. Whether a female should sing in a band such that her voice is clearly heard
  44. ……..

Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

14 thoughts on “Shira Chadasha’s new spiritual dynamo (a female): some questions”

  1. You seem to suggest that the Maharat’s answers are bound to be unacceptable to you and your worldview.

    Oh well. I personally hope they are.


    1. I haven’t called her Maharat. Avi Weiss has changed the nomenclature, so I don’t know what he calls his graduates now.

      In terms of my “world view”, no, it’s not about world view. I have asked what the answers to these questions might be. Many if not most have nothing to do with Shira Chadasha style services. I’m interested to know if she will give open orthodox answers or Modern Orthodox (or other) answers. I think this is a valid question. We know that if you ask a Charedi a question, you will be able to pretty much know the parameters of the answer. Ditto for Modern/Centrist Orthodox. Dati Leumi is a bit variant. Avi Weiss’s graduates are a new entity. I have no idea where they sit. I have a cousin who is a Yoetzet Halacha from Nishmat. I know what her answers would be. She functions under Rav Henkin and she hasn’t an ounce of feminism in her. She functions to assist women with questions that they may not feel so comfortable asking their Rabbi. She is very learned and doesn’t compromise any aspect of accepted Halacha.


    1. I wouldn’t ask her. Last time I looked I was not menstruating and Mesora does not have women in a position of Sroro
      Given that you do go there, and I believe are the Ba’al Koreh, I’m sure my readers would love to hear her answers.
      Why don’t you ask her, as she will be your mentor, and let us know her answers


      1. By the way, if she refuses to answer you or you are bashful, she’s welcome to come to my house for a lchaim and a meal, and I will ask her personally (but only academically). Send me her email address if that’s the case.


  2. Shira is one of my Shules, and I am one of the Ba’alei/Ba’alot K’riyah there.

    I personally am not really interested in confronting/challenging her with those “academic questions”.

    I would be interested to hear her talk on medical ethics issues, for example, which I imagine would incorporate Jewish perspectives.

    I assume that you haven’t been able to find her email address with a search. I’m happy to ask someone who I believe would have her email address if she’d be happy to send it to you.


    1. The medical ethics component is of little interest to me. If that’s what you are after Dayan Asher Weiss or Rabbi Professor Abraham are the most competent Israeli Rabbis to speak on that topic and universally regarded as such in the Orthodox world. I looked in Shulchan Aruch and could only find Baal Koreh. The only Kriyah I found for a female related to Hilchos Aveylus which wasn’t your intention. Rabbis Professors Frimer & Frimer provide an exhaustive treatment of the issue of a woman layning when men are available to do so.


    2. It is not a Shule anymore than a Reform or Conservative temple are ‘Shules’. Synagogue is the noun. The Yiddish Shule/Shtiebel terms are improper to sequester for the purposes of a new strain of collective prayer service which is not accepted by Rov Minyan and Rov Binyan of Orthodoxy. In fact there isn’t a single world renowned posek who permits it (and no, Prof Sperber is not a Posek, he is primarily an academic who did great research on minhagim)


  3. I believe that Rabbi Faitel Levin is also an expert on Medical Halacha.

    But being a medical ethicist herself, I would imagine that R Lila Kagedan would have interesting perspectives to add.

    To me, Shira is a shule, You’re entitled to call it whatever you want..

    Of course the Shulchan Aruch doesn’t mention Ba’alot K’riyah – there were none at the time. Women didn’t hold communal leadership whether outside or inside the synagogue, since at least Greek times. There is a fascinating (to me at least) discussion about this here in the context of the sugya about women leading Birkat Hamazon.

    Click to access viewer


    1. Rabbi Levin is a personal friend, with whom I learned Daf Yomi. He’s a wonderful human being. That being said, he would defer to Dayan Usher Weiss who took over from Rav Waldenberg at Shaarei Tzedek, and of course Rabbi Professor Abraham. I am sure Lila has interesting things to say, and I’m not demeaning her, but you would surely not put her on the level of any of these three. If you consider Shira a Shule, who am I to argue with your feeling. To me, and Rov Minyan and Rov Binyan, the word Shule is not appropriate. You don’t need to go to Shulchan Aruch. Bruria could have layned at the drop of a hat. It was, and will always remain not appropriate for Orthodoxy. If you or R ‘Serber or R’ Kaplan’s opinions on Kvod HaTzibbur are different, live with it but don’t call it what it isn’t. I don’t consider, and neither do Gedolay Yisroel (including Rav Henkin of Nishmas) as authoritative. There is a Mesora of Psak, and as Rav Schachter explained to me, they are academics who were never Meshamesh Talmidei Chachomim something Rishonim, Acharonim, Geonim, and renowned Poskim did. In terms of Bircas Hamazon, I haven’t looked at your link, but I have always encouraged my daughters to do Mayim Achronim, but it seems Ashkenazi men don’t do it either. I don’t force them. If you want unbiased and academically surveyed work on such issues, I suggest you listen to the Shiurim of Rabbi Professors Frimer and Frimer, or read their articles. They are most balanced and fair, and also have a fidelity to Mesora, and unlike Open Orthodoxy took their conclusions to Poskim who were in this world.

      I never say Birshus Baalas Habayis, but I always include the Baalas Habayis in the Horachamon. This was the view of Rav Soloveitchik as espoused by his Talmid Muvhak, Mori V’Rabbi Rav Hershel Schachter, whose humility exceeds his Torah knowledge, but who isn’t always the greatest diplomat with his words. Indeed, I have a call in to him today for a few Shailos, none of which pertain to Shira Chadasha/Open Orthodoxy. He had already Paskened that anyone who acts as a functionary there can be counted to a minyan but should not be afforded Kibbudim. He considers them neo Conservatives. He is the Posek of YU, the RCA, and the OU (you don’t become that for nothing) and is a Gadol B’Yisrael as acknowledged even by those who don’t like the fact that he is at YU. Many Charedim ask him questions because they know he has a clear Torah view


  4. World Jewry is estimated as 14 and a half million. Amongst this figure are almost Jews who are almost non-observant
    to secular Jews to Reform/Progressive Jews to Orthodox and Ultra-orthodox/Hareidim Judaism. And yes, I include the
    LGBTI community as well in this figure, however uncomfortable this may seem. US Jewry is estimated at 5 and a half million.
    To me, this figure of US Jewry, more so than in Eretz Yisroel, represents a diverse band of Judaism. The Orthodox community
    may not agree with this and with Shira Chadasha style of Judaism as far as the application of Halocho is concerned, but I see it as a reality. Am I wrong in suggesting that Shira Chadasa is combining age-old Halachic teachings and principles and mixing it with
    a style of contemporary Halachic methods and interpretations?


    1. You are right but there is a vast difference between Shira chadasha in Melbourne and Jersusalem. I object to their insistence on the word orthodox to to their approach. There isn’t a single Posek who supports their approach


  5. I am not an authority on this, but this has occurred to me whether or not the dispersement from the Tower of Bovel has anything
    to do with this whole issue of diversity of world Jewry?


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