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Mendel Shapiro, a Jerusalem lawyer and Modern Orthodox Rabbi, is the author of a halakhic analysis in which he argued that women could be called to read from the Torah in prayer services with men on Shabbat under certain conditions. He and his viewpoint became the subject of extensive dispute within the Modern Orthodox Jewish world. Although strongly disagreeing with his views, Gidon Rothstein, writing in the Rabbinical Council of America's flagship journal Tradition, wrote that
- Both for its inherent interest as an attempt to mine sources creatively and for its impact on the current Orthodox world, R. Shapiro’s analysis deserves serious consideration.
However, Rothstein went on to critique all of Shapiro's core arguments, saying they have "conspicuously weak textual support" and concluding that Shapiro's analysis "has not meaningfully succeeded".
Mendel Shapiro holds B.A. and M.S. degrees from Yeshiva University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School. He received Semicha (Rabbinic Ordination) from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary of Yeshiva University.
- Mendel Shapiro, “Qeri’at ha-Torah by Women: A Halakhic Analysis” (Edah 1:2, 2001) (pdf)
- Gidon Rothstein, "Women’s Aliyyot in Contemporary Synagogues." Tradition 39:2, Summer 2005. (Critical analysis published in the Orthodox Rabbinical Council of America's official journal)
- Eliav Shochetman. Sinay 135-136 (2005), pp. 271–336 (Article by Hebrew University Law School professor criticizing Mendel Shapiro's analysis )