The Chief Rabbinate has removed a stipulation that kashrut supervisors must be
men, thereby paving the way for the first female supervisors to be employed for
The decision comes following a petition filed by the Emuhah
women’s rights group to the High Court of Justice, demanding that women be
allowed to fill the role.
The previous guidelines for anyone taking the
rabbinate test for kashrut supervisors included clauses that to all intents and
purposes prevented women from applying.
But last week, the State
Attorney’s Office informed the High Court that Chief Rabbi David Lau had decided
to remove these stipulations.
Emunah has worked for two years to pressure
the Chief Rabbinate into allowing women to take the tests, and has also
established a teaching course for women wanting to study to become kashrut
supervisors and take the rabbinate exam.
The rabbinate’s decision, which
was heavily opposed by some members of the Chief Rabbinate Council, means that
women will now be able to take the exam and then apply to restaurant and
catering businesses for work as kashrut supervisors.
“This is without
doubt a historic breakthrough and achievement,” Emunah chairwoman Liora Minke
said following the announcement of the decision. “It will open new horizons for
employment for many women in a field which was closed to them for many
Yesh Atid MK Aliza Lavie also welcomed the development, saying
she had personally spoken to Lau on the matter.
“There is no reason in
Jewish law that women cannot serve as kashrut supervisors, and as far back as
the 16th century, women were working as animal slaughterers and were taking
responsibility for matters of kashrut,” Lavie noted.
“The Chief Rabbinate
must continue to find ways to make itself more accommodating to reality in
Israel,” she added.