Yeshiva U. agrees to ordain student rebuked for hosting partnership minyan

Yeshiva University said it will grant rabbinic ordination to a student after previously threatening to withhold it because he hosted a so-called “partnership minyan.”

“An agreement has been reached and the student will be receiving Semikha,” Rabbi Yosef Blau, a senior counselor at Y.U.’s seminary, told the Forward in an email, referring to ordination.

In a partnership minyan, women lead many aspects of the Sabbath service and are called to the Torah. Most halachic sources prohibit the practice, including Rabbi Hershel Schachter, a rosh yeshiva at Y.U.’s Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, or RIETS.

Rabbi Menachem Penner, acting dean of RIETS, had previously sent a letter to the student ordering him not to participate in partnership minyans “nor create a public impression that he supports such activities in normative practice,” the New York Jewish Week reported Feb. 27. The letter was posted on the Jewish Channel’s website.

The student, who is identified as Shalom in the letter dated Jan. 13, has chosen to remain anonymous. He told the Jewish Week that he had intended to host the partnership minyan at his home only once at the request of his then-ailing wife.

Y.U. and RIETS issued a statement Feb. 27 saying that an agreement was reached and the student could receive ordination on March 23. — jta