Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was the first woman to be ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1974. She and her husband, Dennis C. Sasso were the first practicing rabbinic couple in world Jewish history. Rabbi Sasso is now Rabbi Emerita of Congregation Beth-EL Zedeck in Indianapolis where she served for 36 years. She is presently the director of the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative at Butler University.
Sasso is the author of several nationally acclaimed children’s books, winner of a National Jewish Book Award and recipient of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Literature. There are half a million of her books in print.
In Terezin, the US Commission for the Preservation of American Heritage Abroad sponsored the dedication of a plaque as a memorial. A day before traveling to Terezin, we saw Regina's papers, a small pile that must have been all that survived of a much larger collection. We stared at a photograph of her, the sole image that remained. In the formal portrait, she wore a rabbinic robe and her young face was dignified and serious. I yearned for photographs of her teaching, laughing, and loving, images of a full life. But there were none.
Our knowledge about Rabbi Regina Jonas has been limited. I had heard that she was ordained in Berlin, her thesis was on whether women could be rabbis, and that she had died during the Holocaust. I was intrigued, but there was not much more information to fill in the blank spaces. This trip has opened up a wealth of material about her life, her vision and her contributions.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso." (Viewed on December 21, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/author/rabbi-sandy-eisenberg-sasso>.