As the first yeshiva to ordain women as Orthodox clergy, we strive to offer an exceptional education in Jewish law and pastoral counseling, preparing our graduates to inspire and lead Orthodox communities.
By providing a credentialed pathway for women to serve as spiritual and halakhic guides, we increase the community’s ability to attract the best and brightest into the ranks of its leadership. In addition, by expanding the leadership to include women we seek to enliven the community at large, with a wider array of voices, thoughts, and perspectives.
Yeshivat Maharat was founded in September 2009 by Rabbi Avi Weiss and Rabba Sara Hurwitz, who received her ordination earlier that year. In establishing Yeshivat Maharat Rabbi Weiss and Rabba Hurwitz sought to provide a path so that women could achieve positions of leadership within the Orthodox community that were on par with the rabbi.
Today, Yeshivat Maharat is offering a dynamic group of women the opportunity to become ordained as clergy within the bounds of halakha so that they can serve their communities as spiritual leaders.
In September 2013, Yeshivat Maharat expanded with the opening of its Advanced Kollel Program. This program is designed for women who are already working in the community but wanted advanced training as well as certification.
To date, 33 women have enrolled in Yeshivat Maharat’s programs and 11 have been ordained.
Yeshivat Maharat ordains women with semikha so they may serve Jewish communities as full spiritual and halakhic leaders.
Ordination occurs after a rigorous course of study. Scholars must demonstrate an authoritative command of Jewish law, Talmud, Torah, Jewish thought, leadership training, and pastoral counseling leading to semikha and the granting of the credentials of “toreh toreh.”
Guidelines for the Use of Professional Titles
Graduates of Yeshivat Maharat are conferred as “toreh toreh” – a decisor of Jewish law. We encourage our graduates to use the professional title most appropriate to them, in consultation with the communities they serve.