It is unfortunate that the RCBC has come under attack for taking a principled position (“RCBC Draws ‘Boundary Line’ on Women Rabbis,” February 6, 2019). Every organization has its red lines. The OU, the RCA and the RCBC have their own red lines. So does the IRF.
Rabbi Helfgot has taken issue with the RCBC for adopting “a by-law that would restrict the rabbinic authority and autonomy of its members.” He feels that the RCBC should “…allow each member to reach the best halachic and public policy decisions for that rabbi’s individual shul and its members.”
Rabbi Helfgot is the president of the International Rabbinic Fellowship. The IRF does not permit its members to officiate at weddings without a prenuptial agreement.
The issue of prenups is a legitimate halachic debate within the Orthodox community. To be sure, many poskim permit and strongly advocate their use. There are other poskim who feel that the use of prenups is problematic. As such, there are rabbis who will not officiate if there is a prenup.
If a rabbi who does not use prenups when doing weddings applies for membership in the IRF, will they allow him “to reach the best halachic and public policy decisions for that rabbi’s individual shul and its members”? Or would the IRF, like the RCBC whom Rabbi Helfgot criticized, “restrict the rabbinic authority and autonomy of its members and advise the applicant to affiliate elsewhere?”Rabbi Yerachmiel Seplowitz