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Rabbis

Amy Eilberg and Sally Priesand

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(From left to right): Amy Eilberg and Sally Priesand.

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(From left to right): Amy Eilberg and Sally Priesand.

Regina Jonas Plaque

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Memorial plaque for Regina Jonas.
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Memorial plaque for Regina Jonas.

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German Leaders Speak Out Against Anti-Semitism

Just days before leading German newspapers called for an end to hatred against Jews, our group heard from two German dignitaries who were deeply concerned about the new wave of anti-Semitism infusing protests against Israel’s operations in Gaza. Both MP Volker Beck and Sybilla Bendig of the Foreign Office were clearly shocked by slogans and chants they didn’t think possible in postwar Germany.

Regina Jonas Group with Sybilla Bendig

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The Regina Jonas group with Sybilla Bendig of the Foreign Office in Berlin, Germany.
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The Regina Jonas group with Sybilla Bendig of the Foreign Office in Berlin, Germany.

Rabbah Sara Hurwitz, Cropped

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Rabbah Sara Hurwitz.
Courtesy of The Forward
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Rabbah Sara Hurwitz.

Courtesy of The Forward

Connecting Across the Divide

The first of the historic events that marked our trip took place on the second evening at Berlin’s Centrum Judaicum. For the first time, the pioneering American women rabbis who were the first to be ordained by their denominations joined with their counterparts in Europe in a public forum to talk about their journeys to the rabbinate and experiences as rabbis. Or that was the plan.

Laura Geller

As one of the first women rabbis, Laura Geller pushed for women’s greater inclusion in both Jewish liturgy and Jewish leadership.

Visiting the Regina Jonas Archive at the Centrum Judaicum

Our trip officially began Tuesday morning with participants sharing key words or phrases that captured the ideas, feelings, or intentions with which they were embarking on the first day. Some focused on Regina Jonas—honoring her, standing on her shoulders. Others spoke more generally about women, noting their interest in the "place of women in different worlds," or "a passion for women." And they came to the day with varied emotions—anticipation, anxiety, optimism, seeking “internal reconciliation” and hoping to “find themselves” here.

Women Rabbis at Regina Jonas Archive

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Women rabbis at an historic evening at the Regina Jonas Archive, Centrum Judaicum, New Synagogue (Orienstrasse Synagogue) in Berlin, Germany.
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Women rabbis at an historic evening at the Regina Jonas Archive, Centrum Judaicum, New Synagogue (Orienstrasse Synagogue) in Berlin, Germany.

The "Lost" Story of Regina Jonas

A major theme of our shared JWA/AJA journey is the recovery of the lost narrative of Regina Jonas. We are here in the company of America’s pioneering women rabbis to bring Fraulein Rabbiner Jonas back into the story we tell of them and those who followed.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on February 6, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/rabbis>.

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