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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

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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