Jewish Women on the Map - Congregation Beth Israel
The current location of Congregation Beth Israel, the congregation for which Paula Ackerman served as interim "spiritual leader" from December 12, 1950, through fall 1953. Ackerman was asked by the congregation to assume this role after her husband, who was the congregation's rabbi, passed away.
Ackerman achieved the distinction of becoming the first woman to assume religious leadership of a mainstream American Jewish congregation. Attracting international attention from the press, she was erroneously labeled “America’s first Lady Rabbi.”
(Quoted from Umansky, Ellen M. "Paula Ackerman." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 1 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. August 25, 2010 .)
Meridian, MS entry from the Institute for Southern Jewish Life's Encyclopedia:
Congregation Beth Israel website: http://cbimeridian.org/
Photo courtesy of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life. This photo shows Paula Ackerman conducting her first wedding, of the congregational president’s daughter.