International Rabbinic Fellowship

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The International Rabbinic Fellowship (IRF) is a Modern Orthodox rabbinical organization founded by Rabbis Avi Weiss and Marc D. Angel in 2007[1] and soon elected Rabbi Barry Gelman as its president.[2][3] The group is open to graduates of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. The group's current president is Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot. The group is noted for being the only Orthodox rabbinical association to admit women rabbis as members.[1]


IRF began as a fellowship of Orthodox rabbis and spiritual leaders associated with the Open Orthodox stream within Orthodox Judaism.[4] The organization is viewed as a counterpart to the Rabbinical Council of America, an established modern Orthodox association.[5][6] In 2010, the association reportedly consisted of approximately 200 members.[7] The differentiation of the positions held by the IRF from those held by other Orthodox associations have led some to point to the irrelevance of denominational labels in contemporary Judaism.[8] Alternatively, the IRF is evidence of a shifting trend, within modern Orthodoxy, away from fundamentalism.[9]

The IRF supports the ordination of women and their role in the clergy.[10] Since 2012, it has admitted female members as members to its association.[6] Prior to this decision, in December 2010, the group had voted against such a proposal.[11][12] The IRF supports the use of a halachic prenuptial agreement, and in 2012 the group passed a resolution stating that member rabbis may only officiate a wedding if the couple has signed such an agreement.[13]


  • "Halakhic Realities: Collected Essays on Organ Donation" (ed. Zev Farber). Maggid Books, 2017. ISBN 9781592644070
  • "Halakhic Realities: Collected Essays on Brain Death" (ed. Zev Farber). Maggid Books, 2016. ISBN 9781592644063


  1. ^ a b "Conference Explores the Teaching and Work of Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg". March 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "International Rabbinic Fellowship – Press Release". Jewish Journal. November 26, 2009.
  3. ^ "International Rabbinic Fellowship". Int'lRabbinicFellow. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  4. ^ Waxman, C. I. (2016). Adam S. Ferziger. Beyond Sectarianism: The Realignment of American Orthodox Judaism. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2015. 352 pp. AJS review, 40(1), 214-216.
  5. ^ Claussen, G. (2019). Two Orthodox Approaches to Vulnerability and the Exodus Narrative: The Stranger in the Writings of Irving Greenberg and Meir Kahane. Studies in Judaism, Humanities, and the Social Sciences, 2(1).
  6. ^ a b Joffe, L. F. (2016). The impact of “foreign law” bans on the struggle for women’s equality under Jewish law in the United States of America. In Women's Rights and Religious Law (pp. 179-201). Routledge.
  7. ^ Greenberg, B. (2010). The Orthodox Moment. First Things, (200), 39.
  8. ^ Phillips, B. A. (2011). A Demographer Considers the Twenty-First Century. CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly.
  9. ^ Turetsky, Y., & Waxman, C. I. (2011). Sliding to the Left? Contemporary American Modern Orthodoxy. Modern Judaism, 31(2), 119-141.
  10. ^ "IRF Statement | IRF Reaffirms Its Perspective on Women's Leadership Roles in Orthodoxy". Int'lRabbinicFellow. Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  11. ^ Grossman, L. (2013). Jewish Communal Affairs. In American Jewish Year Book 2012 (pp. 113-142). Springer, Dordrecht.
  12. ^ Rosenblatt, Gary (11 Jan 2011). "Liberal Orthodox Rabbinic Group: No Women Members". The New York Jewish Week. Retrieved 2021-08-18.
  13. ^ "IRF Statement | International Rabbinic Fellowship Takes Historic Step to Prevent Future Agunot". Int'lRabbinicFellow. Retrieved 2021-03-26.

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