Rabbanit Hadas “Dasi” Fruchter, who has been an assistant clergy member on the staff of Beth Sholom Congregation in Potomac, announced she would move to Philadelphia to found her own Orthodox synagogue there. She is opening the new congregation with a grant from a new nonprofit established to seed female-friendly Orthodox synagogues, a sign of the rapidly growing institutional support for women in Orthodox leadership.
“I am blessed and so excited to be able to do what I was made to do. It used to be not an option for me,” Fruchter said this week. Once she dreamed as a teenager of marrying a rabbi, because she didn’t think she could ever be one. Now, in her office, she has two certificates of rabbinic ordination, hanging across from each other: her own, and her grandfather’s, from when he became an Orthodox rabbi in 1940. “I think about this amazing thing, that I am able to do what he did.”
…Female Orthodox leadership is so new that nearly every rabba or maharat [the terms for a woman rabbi in Modern Orthodoxy] can claim to be a first in one way or another. But Fruchter isn’t looking just to break barriers; she’s looking to become the norm. “The second, I think, sometimes is cooler than the first,” she said. “It shows that there’s a trend starting.” JULIE ZAUZMER, in The Washington Post, July 28, 2018.