Dina Brawer is ordained as UK’s first Orthodox female rabbi

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Dina Brawer is ordained as UK’s first Orthodox female rabbi

Female leader is 'honoured' to take up her new role during acceptance ceremony at New York-based Yeshivat Maharat

Rabbi Dr Sperber alongside Rabba Brawer at her semicha

Credit: Shulamit Seidler-Feller
Rabbi Dr Sperber alongside Rabba Brawer at her semicha Credit: Shulamit Seidler-Feller

The UK’s first Orthodox female leader was ordained as a rabbi in a historic ceremony in New York this week.

Dina Brawer accepted her semicha (religious ordination) alongside six other women who graduated from the New York-based Yeshivat Maharat, joining 19 who have already been ordained. The institution was was founded in 2009 as an Orthodox seminary for female leaders.

In her acceptance speech, the founder of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance uk (JOFA UK), said she was “honoured to take my place alongside other women and men who have chosen to serve in this most noble of callings”.

“This is an incredibly important time to be a rabbi, the world is in flux, society is broken, and we are surrounded by a cynical, post-truth, culture.

Judaism has much to offer this spiritually parched world.”

“I pray that together we may bring meaning inspiration and healing to the many lives we set out to touch.”

Brawer, who announced she will be becoming a rabbi back in May will be departing for the United States next month. She has now completed Hillel’s Office of Innovation Fellowship for Rabbinic Entrepreneurship in New York, and will be celebrating her ordination with the British Jewish community on July 8 in London

Speaking to Jewish News in May, Brawer confirmed she has chosen “rabba” – the feminine term for “rabbi” in Hebrew – as her official title. “I will describe myself as a rabbi, that’s what I’ve trained to do and that’s what I’m qualified to serve as,” she said.

Her husband Rabbi Naftali Brawer will take up the position of executive director of Tufts University Hillel.

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