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Rabbi Sally J. Priesand

Rabbi Sally J. Priesand
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Rabbi Sally J. Priesand.

Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, America’s first female rabbi, was ordained in June, 1972, by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1981-2006, she served as Rabbi of Monmouth Reform Temple, becoming Rabbi Emerita upon her retirement.  

Nationally, she has served on the Executive Board of both the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism. She also served as a member of the Board of Governors of HUC-JIR, as President of the Rabbinic Alumni Association, and for three years as editor of the CCAR Newsletter. In 2007, she invited her female rabbinic colleagues of all denominations to join her in donating their professional and personal papers to the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, Ohio, in order to document the history of women in the rabbinate.

Locally, she is an Honorary Vice President of the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County and President of Interfaith Neighbors, an organization whose primary purpose is to provide rental assistance and support services for the working poor. She is a former member of the Board of the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (CHHANGE) at Brookdale Community College, an active supporter of the Jewish Heritage Museum of Monmouth County and works closely with Planned Parenthood on both the local and national level.

She is the recipient of many awards and honors.  The most recent include receiving, in 2009, the Elizabeth Blackwell Award from Hobart and William Smith Colleges and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Cincinnati. In 2010, in honor of its 125th anniversary, GOOD HOUSEKEEPING MAGAZINE named her one of 125 women who changed our lives and our world. In 2013, she was honored by the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights and Genocide Education (CHHANGE) at Brookdale Community College at its annual awards dinner.

Rabbi Priesand, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, lives in Ocean Township, New Jersey, together with her Boston Terrier, Shadow. 

Blog posts

Regina Jonas, circa 1939, Cropped

Remembering Rabbi Regina Jonas

I decided I wanted to be a rabbi when I was sixteen years old. At that time, I had never heard of Regina Jonas. I was well into my rabbinic training before one of my professors mentioned her to me. He knew her personally, having attended the same academic institution in Germany. I discovered, however, that very little had been written about her and that basically her story had been lost, as was the case for so many other women in the Jewish community whose stories were hidden away.

Topics: Holocaust

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbi Sally J. Priesand ." (Viewed on May 28, 2016) <>.


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