The rabbi can wear a dress

A controversy has been averted over Belsize Square Synagogue’s search for a successor to retiring Rabbi Rodney Mariner, who is 68.

There were rumblings among Liberal rabbis over a clause in the job description requiring the independent Progressive congregation’s rabbi to oversee male taharah (washing of the dead), which was taken to mean no woman need apply.

Further egalitarian hackles were raised when inquiries suggested that most congregants did, indeed, prefer a rabbi in trousers than a skirt.

But the synagogue’s recruitment panel have assured Liberal leaders that they will interview female candidates - and the taharah clause has been changed to be gender-neutral.

    Last updated: 11:00am, November 26 2009