Friday, November 08, 2019

Paying Shuls to Hire Female Rabbis

2019 Yeshivat Maharat graduates (JTA)
This is one of the problems I have with modern day feminism. It places far more value on gender than it does on competence. For me this is not really the way to assure the equality of the sexes. 

It is instead an affirmative action program whereby women that are competing with men for jobs will now be placed ahead of men that are not only equal in job qualification - but are even more qualified. That is not equality. That is reverse discrimination.

I understand why this policy exists.  It is to reverse a historic pattern of discrimination against disadvantaged minorities. In order to ‘right’ that wrong – this policy seeks to ‘equalize the playing field by aggressively hiring  minority employees so that the the percentage of minorities in the workforce is more representative of their percentage in the general population. A noble goal. But unjustly pursued

For me, affirmative action is patently unfair. What justice is there for someone that worked diligently to achieve their higher level of competence only to be denied a job in favor of someone of lesser competence because of past injustices? I could never understand that logic.

Past injustices should be corrected in a colorblind manner. Just like there should be no room for choosing a lesser qualified white employee over a black one that is more qualified - the reverse should also be true. That may have been the case in the past. But righting that wrong should not mean creating another wrong.  In any and all cases, the more qualified applicant should get the job.  

Affirmative action may be a way of achieving social justice. But social justice really means treating everyone the same. Not favoring a lesser qualified person over a more qualified one. The only real way to advance the cause of disadvantaged minorities is to hire them when they are the most qualified applicant. Not to put them ahead of the more qualified. Because at the end of the day, it does not serve the welfare of a minority to be seen as getting a job because of past injustice rather than because of being the most qualified.

JTA reports that latest form of affirmative action is being undertaken by JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance). They are now offering $10,000 to any Orthodox synagogue that hires a woman as their rabbi.

This exposes the real agenda of JOFA. Which is far more about feminism than it is about Orthodoxy. Leaving aside the serious issue of women as rabbis - an innovation that has been completely rejected by all of mainstream Orthodoxy - this too ignores competence in favor of an agenda.

I have to ask. What kind of a Shul will choose money over quality? Given two applicants, shouldn’t the choice be made based on which candidate will best serve the Shul’s interests? Even if female rabbis were accepted by the Orthodox mainstream - hiring a rabbi based on financial incentives does a disservice to the Shul membership - if the lesser qualified of the 2 candidates is chosen because of it.

Whether it is financial considerations or on affirmative action - I would never join a Shul that chose its rabbinic leader that way.  I would choose a Shul that chose its rabbi strictly on the basis of qualification. Shouldn’t everyone?