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Female Soldier Makes History by Being Called to the Torah

A civilian officiant called on the soldier to make benedictions during holiday service, which is normally only reserved for men

By: Daniel Koren
Published: October 2nd, 2013 in News » Israel
Jewish women praying

A female IDF soldier has made history by being the first woman to be called to the torah to say the proper blessings, something normally only reserved for males, during the holiday of Simchat Torah at the Israeli Navy training base in Haifa.

The soldier was praying at a service for the holiday when the gabbai - an officiant of the religious service - called her up to say the blessings as well. According to Kipa, an Israeli website for young members of the religious community, the gabbai is not a member of the military, but a civilian employee of the IDF.

According to the report, several male members of the IDF were bewildered when the female soldier was called to say the blessings, but did not interfere with the gabbai's decision.

An argument did reportedly break out, however, with many of the orthodox congregants in attendance stating that it is forbidden for women to be called to the torah, and many religious scholars would not agree with the decision.

The female solider, who studied at a religious women's seminary, is a regular attendee of the services on the navy base, according to Kipa.

Today, many liberal streams of Orthodox Judaism permit women to have full participation in prayer services, though the IDF typically follows the traditional readings, abiding ancient Jewish law, and allowing haredi soldiers to fully practice their religious duties as they see fit.

The IDF is currently investigating the incident.

Related articles: IDF, Israel News, Jewish News, Female IDF, Torah, Military
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