Rona Shapiro Makes History in Cleveland

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Over thirty-five years have passed since a small New York study group—which grew to become Ezrat Nashim—set out to study the status of women in Judaism, and presented Conservative rabbis with a manifesto entitled “Jewish Women Call for Change” at the Rabbinical Assembly convention. This effort significantly influenced the Conservative movement’s decision to ordain female rabbis in 1983, and brought about many other advancements in equalizing women’s participation in Jewish ritual. But even as women have gained access to the rabbinate, senior pulpit positions held by women remain few and far between.

Rona Shapiro, former senior associate of Ma’yan: the Jewish Women’s Project in Manhattan, is doing her part to change this. She’s just made Cleveland rabbinical history by becoming the first female head rabbi at a Conservative congregation in the Cleveland area, Congregation Bethaynu. Mazal Tov, Rabbi Shapiro! Click here to read about her new position, and check out the Jewish Women’s Archive online exhibit Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution to learn more about significant historical moments for women rabbis.

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