Louis Jacobs answers a number of important questions, in this video, relating to the status of women in Judaism. Can women be ordained as rabbis or cantors in synagogues? Can they be counted in a minyan? Can they read the Torah, or receive an aliyah? Can they wear tefilin or tsitsit?
He discusses each of these questions independently, combining halakhic and historical arguments. The video therefore offers an accessible insight into the Jewish legal sources which relate to the topics under consideration, and the complex process of halakhic decision-making which leads a rabbi to posit on an issue. Rabbi Jacobs also reveals some fascinating facts regarding the status of women in Temple or Talmudic times. As always, he tackles the challenges with great integrity. On some issues, he demonstrates that there is little room in halakha for change (for women reciting the priestly blessing, for example). In relation to some other questions, such as whether women could become rabbis or cantors, he reveals that there is no prohibition involved, but that each community should act independently, according to the will of its members.