An Israeli-born Feminist; A Russian-born Lawyer; a Canadian-born Coexistence Activist; and an Argentinian-born Educator.
Following the completion of their three-year training program, four Rabbis received Masorti/Conservative rabbinic ordination, joining the ranks of 98 Masorti rabbis from Israel and overseas who have been ordained by the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary since 1988.
Rabbi Idit Mevorach Shaag grew up in a Religious-Zionist family in Haifa, the daughter of an American-born mother and an Israeli father of Jewish Yemenite background. She was educated in the religious public school system, and studied at the Midreshet Lindenbaum seminary both before and after her IDF service. She holds a BA in Politics and Government from the Ben Gurion University in the Negev and pursued her MA at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. While studying at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, she worked at Masorti congregations Moriah in Haifa and The Family Minyan in Kfar Vradim, as well as with the NOAM youth movement. “I grew up with Zionism flowing through my veins and with a great appreciation for Torah. We were always pushed to grow and flourish in the virtues of Torah. The fusion of traditions with which my parents were raised brought a variety of rich customs, but the common denominator was strong and deeply rooted: a solid commitment to halacha, a love of Torah study, a love of the land of Israel, the importance of volunteering. The rabbinate, to me, means going around the world with a higher sense of responsibility, and the feminist revolution in Judaism is a sanctification of God’s name in my most fundamental sense.”
Rabbi Irina Gritsevskaya grew up in a Jewish home in St. Petersburg, Russia. Her family moved to Israel when she 17 years old and settled in Tel Aviv. She is a lawyer who found her path to the rabbinate because of deep love for the Jewish people, a thirst for knowledge, and a critical approach. As an adult, she fell in love with American Judaism, which helped her discover Judaism that is open, inviting, inclusive, and colorful – a world of mitzvot without coercion, out of free choice. “Today I am embarking on a new and exciting path, to a rabbinate that does not presume to make decisions for others, that believes that there are different ways to achieve unity with God. I have a strong desire to share the treasures that I discovered during my studies, with the belief that the recipient will know to use them with wisdom and love, and from a place of deep familiarity.”
Rabbi Raanan Mallek was born in Canada to a family with a secular background. He moved to Israel when he was 20 years old. “I became a rabbi because I believe that religious leaders bear a responsibility for transforming religion to a force that aids peace-building.” R. Mallek works with the Tantur Theological Institute, which brings together Christian priests and Jewish and Muslim clerics. “My greatest success is seeing participants from different backgrounds find similarities between their religion and the religions of others and even celebrate the differences between them. As a Masorti rabbi I will work to bring about positive social change. In another ten years I hope that interfaith dialogue will be perceived as equally important to the work of diplomats, and that all rabbis will be efficiently trained to lead gatherings that celebrate the variety of paths leading to the one God.”
Rabbi Yardén Raber was born in Argentina. He moved to Israel when he was 23 years old. In February 2019, he will begin his new role as the Chief Rabbi of the Masorti community in Lima, Peru. The community has a long history, since it was founded by Jewish Ashkenazic-German emigrants to Lima in the 19th century. Today, it is comprised of approximately 1,000 congregants, including many young families. “As a rabbi I feel committed to helping every single person find his or her personal voice within the entirety of Jewish tradition, practices and sources; I feel an obligation to empower those searching for their paths, to give them tools for taking ownership of Jewish tradition so that they can transform it into a way of life that strives for meaning.”
“Carry your identity of a Masorti/Conservative Rabbi with pride. It will enable you to bring people closer to Judaism, to accept differences, and to understand complexities. It respects free choice and asserts that best choices are based on deep knowledge. It also commands us to work towards equality and recognizes the value of other identities” said Rabbi Avi Novis-Deutsch, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary.
Schechter Rabbinical Seminary (SRS) trains the next generation of Jewish leaders who inspire and influence Israeli society, as well as raise a committed Jewish voice for religious pluralism and tolerance. SRS graduates lead communities throughout Israel and the world in the spirit of enlightened, intellectually engaged Judaism. Since SRS was founded in 1984, 98 rabbis, among them 27 women, received Masorti/Conservative ordination here.