NEW YORK (JTA) — Yeshiva University said it will grant rabbinic ordination to a student after previously threatening to withhold it over his having once hosted a so-called “partnership minyan.”
“An agreement has been reached and the student will be receiving Semikha,” Rabbi Yosef Blau, a senior counselor at Y.U.’s seminary, told the Forward in an email, referring to ordination.
The Forward received confirmation of the move from the university’s media relations director.
In a partnership minyan, women lead many aspects of the Sabbath service and are called to the Torah. Most halachic sources prohibit the practice, including Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a rosh yeshiva at RIETS.
Rabbi Menachem Penner, acting dean of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, or RIETS, had previously sent a letter to the student ordering him not to participate in partnership minyans “nor create a public impression that he supports such activities in normative practice,” The New York Jewish Week reported Thursday. The letter was posted on The Jewish Channel’s website.
The student, who is identified as Shalom in the letter dated Jan. 13, has chosen to remain anonymous. He told the Jewish Week that he had intended to host the partnership minyan at his home only once in his home at the request of his then-ailing wife.
The letter indicated that the student will not be a “musmach,” or graduate, of the seminary unless he is able to subscribe to the principles laid out therein, including to “defer, in matters of normative practice, to the opinions of recognized poskim,” or decisors of Jewish law.
News of the letter spurred objections from some Modern Orthodox rabbis.