‘Birthright for Moms’ Revises Policy Following Haaretz Report: Non-Orthodox Rabbis Now Welcome on Its Trips

An organization that brings Jewish mothers on heavily subsidized trips to Israel said on Sunday that it would no longer bar non-Orthodox rabbis from participating. The announcement came several days after Haaretz reported on the policy.

>> ‘Birthright for Moms’ bars women who are non-Orthodox rabbis from its free trips to Israel <<

– Haaretz Weekly Ep. 56

Haaretz Weekly Ep. 56Haaretz

In a statement, Momentum, which likes to refer to itself as “Birthright for Moms,” said its policy regarding the participation of clergy on its trips had hitherto been “unclear” and that it has now been “revised.”

The statement was issued in response to questions from Haaretz regarding the recent case of a prominent Conservative rabbi from South Florida who had planned to lead a group of women from her husband’s congregation on a Momentum trip to Israel this coming fall, only to learn that her application had been rejected. When she demanded an explanation, representatives of the organization said that a decision had been made years ago not to allow female clergy to lead trips.

The rabbi in question, Cheryl Jacobs, made the prestigious Forward list of North America’s most inspirational rabbis several years ago. She heads an organization that provides mentorship and guidance to non-affiliated Jews during life cycle events.

Both Cheryl Jacobs and her husband Rabbi Andrew Jacobs had notified friends, congregants and followers of the initial decision to bar her from the trip in posts they published on Facebook, which drew dozens of angry responses.  Rabbi Andrew Jacobs is the spiritual leader of Ramat Shalom, a progressive congregation in Plantation, Florida. 

In its statement, Momentum said that its representatives had met with Rabbi Cheryl Jacobs over the weekend and “made clear that she is welcome to lead her group.”