Hampstead rabbi resigns from LSJS over removal of female lecturer

EXCLUSIVE: Rabbi Harris criticises treatment of longstanding lecturer Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz


Rabbi Michael Harris has resigned from his role at the London School of Jewish Studies today over the treatment of a newly-ordained Orthodox female colleague.

Rabbi Harris, an Orthodox rabbi at Hampstead Synagogue - a United Synagogue shul which falls under the aegis of the Chief Rabbi - announced his resignation as senior research fellow in a statement to the JC on Tuesday evening. 

“The removal of Lindsey Taylor-Guthartz from her Research Fellowship seriously undermines LSJS's credentials as an academic institution and I therefore have no alternative but to resign,” he said. 

Ms Taylor-Guthartz lost her role at the LSJS after 16 years earlier this month.

She graduated from New York’s Yeshiva Maharat, an Orthodox school that ordains women but is not recognised by United Synagogue. 

Her removal from LSJS has drawn criticism among some progressive rabbis and cantors. 

LSJS chief executive Joanne Greenaway praised Rabba Dr Taylor-Guthartz on Wednesday as a "valued member of the LSJS community" and noted that "her teaching has enriched the lives of countless students."

She said the school had found itself "in the significantly uncomfortable position of being caught in the middle of an issue that the orthodox Jewish community throughout the world has yet to resolve – and, in many cases, yet to discuss."

She added: "Throughout the week I have been comforted by the many words of support I have received from friends of the organisation, who understand the predicament we find ourselves in.

"But I have also been deeply saddened and shocked by the way some others have chosen to hijack what has happened to discredit the organisation’s integrity and track record to pursue their own wider agendas."

She said she hoped an acceptable resolution could be announced in the coming days.

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