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Rabbis

Paula Hyman

Paula E. Hyman, a founding member of Ezrat Nashim, was the Lucy Moses Professor of Modern Jewish History at Yale University and president of the American Academy of Jewish Research. She also served as the first female dean of the Seminary College of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Lynn Gottlieb

Lynn Gottlieb entered pulpit life at the age of 23 in 1973, as rabbi to Temple Beth Or of the Deaf in New York City. In 1981, she became the first woman ordained in the Jewish Renewal Movement. Gottlieb's creativity, peace and justice activism, feminism, and focus on spiritual meaning helped shape the Jewish Renewal Movement.

Sue Levi Elwell

Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell has been teaching and writing about Jewish women’s history and feminist spirituality for the past 20 years. The Founding Director of the American Jewish Congress Feminist Center in Los Angeles,

Amy Eilberg

Rabbi Amy Eilberg is the first woman ordained as a Conservative rabbi by the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. She was a co-founder of the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, where she directed the Jewish Hospice Care Program.

Dianne Cohler-Esses

Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first woman from the Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn to become a rabbi, ordained by the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) in 1995. She currently serves as Scholar In Residence at UJA Federation in New York.

Nina Beth Cardin

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin is the Director of Jewish Life at the JCC of Greater Baltimore. Ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1988, Rabbi Cardin then served the Seminary in numerous capacities, including Assistant to the Vice Chancellor, Special Assistant to the Chancellor and Visiting Lecturer in Theology. Rabbi Cardin is also Editor of Sh'ma: a journal of Jewish responsibility.

More Than Just The Celebration of One Woman: Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl

Usually, I’m a bit of a skeptic about the transformative power of women’s leadership. I don’t believe a woman in a position of power will necessarily create meaningful social change. I’m a little weary of celebrating “firsts” for women. I’m impatient and demanding and all the things feminists need to be if we’re going to change the world for more than an elite few. 

And then there are moments when I feel the momentum rumbling beneath my feet and cynicism is nowhere to be found. Today I had one of those moments when I heard that Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl has been chosen as the next Senior Rabbi at Central Synagogue, a prominent and powerful Reform congregation in New York City.

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht

November 10, 1938

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht.

Blurred Lines in Parshat Vayera

As a female-bodied person who wears clothing typically reserved for men and occasionally uses male pronouns, I know the world of bluriness. I walk through it everyday, and I see the way it is threatening to people. I have compassion for Sarah, because I see her in the face of all those who struggle with excellent intentions to locate my gender in their understanding of the world. I know the ways in which it pushes me outside of community, and I see the ways in which sharing my whole self with people allows them to bring me in. It is an experience of deep pain and of greater joy. Of pure laughter and the laughter that comes in response to the sheer absurdity of any given moment in my life. To be sure, it is not only genderqueer or trans* identified people who live in the bluriness or on the edge. People with disabilities, those of lower economic classes, single parents, interfaith members of our community — they also live in the blurriness, on the edge of at least one boundary or another.

And so I read this week’s Torah portion as a caution. As a call to notice, to investigate, to counter moments when a blurred line is making us uncomfortable or when we are too narrowly prescribing a person’s identity.

But Why Do They Have to be Rabbis?

Although my friends usually come into the conversation unable to comprehend why nice, Orthodox girls would want to enter the rabbinate, I certainly hope they leave the discussion slightly more enlightened. They don’t have to agree with me at the end of the day; Judaism is very fluid, and no two people must come to the same conclusion regarding the interpretation of halakha. I just hope they can understand why women like the recent Yeshivat Maharat graduates may want to choose the rabbinate or a religious leadership role.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on September 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/rabbis>.

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