Rabbi Amy Eilberg
Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. After many years of work in pastoral care and hospice, Rabbi Eilberg now serves as a spiritual director, directs interfaith dialogue programs in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, and teaches at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities and St. Catherine University. She serves as a co-chair of the Civility Initiative of the Jewish Council on Public Affairs and teaches the art of listening and peacebuilding in venues throughout the country.
For nearly thirty years I have had the good fortune to carry the title “first woman rabbi ordained in the Conservative Movement.” I have carried the designation with pride, at the same time knowing that I was a relative newcomer to the world of “first women rabbis.” After all, Rabbi Sally Priesand (the first woman Reform rabbi, ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972) and Rabbi Sandy Sasso (the first woman Reconstructionist rabbi, ordained by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1974) had preceded me by many years. Only this week did I come to know my forbear, Rabbi Regina Jonas, the first woman ever ordained a rabbi.
I have never been to Germany before, and this is no accident. My mother, who lost extended family members in the Holocaust, raised me not to buy German products. I do not walk on the site of the Temple in Jerusalem, for it is sacred. I did not go to Germany, because it was the very opposite of sanctity. The sound of the German language made me cringe; it was the sound of the Nazis. But over the decades, I had come to be in relationship with young Germans who were profoundly remorseful about the Holocaust. I was ready to explore a new personal relationship with the German people, and to travel there when the right opportunity presented itself. This trip is that opportunity.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbi Amy Eilberg." (Viewed on September 2, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog/author/rabbi-amy-eilberg>.