More on Beit Hillel in English
The group, to be known as Beit Hillel, already has 110 rabbis signed up, along with 30 women who are considered Torah scholars. It was founded by congregational rabbis in the central region, who say they represent the silent majority of the national-religious population that is frustrated and alarmed by creeping extremism and the deterioration of women’s status in the sector. Beit Hillel is granting participating women equal voting rights and influence in the organization.
“We cannot remain silent anymore; we have to state our position clearly,” said Oshra Koren, the director of the Raanana branch of Matan, an institute of advanced Torah study for women based in Jerusalem.
She and a group of 10 rabbis who lead Modern Orthodox congregations formulated the plan after receiving persistent calls from congregants to do something.
“The need for such an organization has been evident for some time,” Koren said. “But the frustration grew following the recent events involving the exclusion of women.
“The big push came when women who know my views urged me to express them publicly,” she said. “People are thirsty for guidance from our leadership on all public issues and news events, and they are frustrated that there has been no clear, balanced and nuanced statement on these questions, as if we are distancing ourselves from religious-Zionist values.”
Rabbi Chaim Navon addressed the issue of a split within religious zionism.
While Beit Hillel prefers to stress its positive positions, the group’s founding reflects the growing rift within the religious-Zionist sector.
“To our great sorrow, religious Zionism is already split,” said Rabbi Chaim Navon, rabbi of the Shimshoni congregation in Modi’in. “But only one faction’s voice was being heard. We are the voice of the other part, that hasn’t been sufficiently heard.”