I was very excited to see that you elicited a wide breadth of voices on synagogue fashion (“For local spiritual leaders, High Holidays are an opportunity to elevate their dress,” Sept. 7). My respect for the piece and the paper, however, fell when I got to the second-to-last paragraph.
When introducing Keshira haLev Fife, the spiritual leader of Kesher Pittsburgh (as well as my wife and my spiritual leader), you put quotes around her identification as “the ordained ‘Hebrew priestess.’” She is not a “Hebrew priestess,” she is a Hebrew priestess. By putting quotes around her title, the paper appears to delegitimize her position.
Not only is her ordination as a Kohenet, her Hebrew title, legitimate, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle wrote a story about it on July 26, 2017. In addition to your own reporting, The Forward, Tablet, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and Boulder Jewish News all ran stories that either focus on or reference Kohenet or Hebrew priestesses. None of those articles put quotes around the title, as they all recognized the role as being legitimate.
If the Chronicle wants to continue presenting itself as a balanced source of reporting, it mustn’t marginalize, even subtly, those who sit outside the institutionalized structures of Judaism. As all educated minds know: Just because something is not familiar does not mean it is not legitimate.