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Conversion, Rabbinic Authority, and Power Imbalance in Orthodoxy

Panel discussion from JOFA Conference featuring Elana Stein Hain, Asher Lopatin, and Mark Dratch, moderated by Laura Shaw-Frank
Photo: pict rider/Adobe Stock
Photo: pict rider/Adobe Stock
Dr. Elana Stein Hain is the Rosh Beit Midrash and a senior research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America, where she serves as lead faculty and consults on the content of lay and professional programs. A widely well-regarded thinker and teacher, Elana is passionate about bringing rabbinic thought into conversation with contemporary life. To this end, she hosts TEXTing, a bi-weekly podcast that considers issues relevant to Jewish life through the lens

Asher Lopatin

Conversion, Rabbinic Authority, and Power Imbalance in Orthodoxy

Panel discussion with
Elana Stein Hain
Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Hartman Senior Rabbinic Fellow
Rabbi Mark Dratch
Executive Vice President, Rabbinical Council of America
Laura Shaw-Frank
Jewish Orthodox Federation of America

During the conversion process, rabbis serve as gatekeepers, determining converts’ access and entry into Judaism. This power imbalance between rabbi and congregant/student is pervasive in many areas of Orthodox ritual and life. In the aftermath of recent events, we will evaluate this fundamental power imbalance that exists between congregants and the rabbinate. How can we use recent events as an opportunity for exploring rabbinic authority and the nature of authority in the Orthodox community. Are there opportunities for reform, dialogue, transparency, and oversight?

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