Chief rabbi patronizes women studying halacha, says Reform Judaism is fake

Sephardi Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef casts aspersions on ability of women to learn advanced Jewish law, accuses women seeking state accreditation for Torah studies of ‘imitating Reform Judaism’

SEPHARDI CHIEF Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef
Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef has issued an all out attack on Reform Judaism, describing it as “fake” and “falsified Judaism,” while also casting aspersions on the ability of women to study Jewish law at an advanced level.
In a speech this week first reported by the Kikar Shabbat ultra-Orthodox news site, Yosef condemned the recent legal pressure on the chief rabbinate to allow women to obtain state-recognized accreditation in advanced Jewish law and repeated his comments that he would never allow such accreditation through the Chief Rabbinate.
He accused women who seek such accreditation, who are overwhelmingly from the moderate wing of the religious-Zionist community, as seeking to imitate Reform Jews, and then embarked on an anti-Reform diatribe.
“A petition against the High Court of Justice was filed against us, along come some women – they also need to be rabbis, the intention is like the Reform rabbis, they want to be examined,” said the Sephardi chief rabbi.
Following a petition to the High Court, the state last month agreed to provide a parallel exam to the qualifications issued by the Chief Rabbinate to men who pass its exams, to afford them equal standing with men when applying for some public and government positions.
“How can they be examined on all of ‘Issur V’heter’ (laws pertaining to kashrut)?” Yosef exclaimed.
“Do they know the laws of forbidden mixtures of foods?” he wondered. “How could they be examined on all of [the laws of] Shabbat?” he asked incredulously.
“Can they learn all of this? Maybe they can, today there are talented women, women who study accountancy and lots of other things. But this is something which is imitating the Reform, we have to distance ourselves very much from that which is ugly and that similar to it.”
Yosef then went on to attack Reform Judaism, comparing Reform Jews unfavorably with secular Jews who he said could be taught and brought back to Torah observance.
“A Reform Jew? Nothing will help. They falsified the Torah. Their entire Torah is fraudulent. Everything with them is fake. When everything is fake there is no chance that they will return to Torah observance,” Yosef alleged.
“Go and speak with people who have come back to Torah observance, you won’t find one Reform Jew among them… A Reform Jew remains a Reform Jew. They have a new Torah.”