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Rabbis

Excerpts from the writings of Regina Jonas

The words of Regina Jonas continue to resonate with today’s rabbis. This past summer, at the dedication of a memorial plaque to Regina Jonas at Terezin by the United States Commision for the Preservation of American Heritage Abroad, the first four American women rabbis honored their foremother Regina Jonas by reading the passages from her writings excerpted below.    

Commemorating Rabbi Regina Jonas

This October marks the 70th anniversary of the death of Regina Jonas, the first woman ever ordained as a rabbi. Born in Berlin in 1902, Jonas began talking to friends about her desire to become a rabbi when she was still a teen, and later studied under Eduard Banath, who oversaw ordination for the Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums, a liberal, nondenominational seminary in Berlin. But when Banath died in 1930, Jonas struggled to find another rabbi willing to ordain her. She argued brilliantly for the possibility of women becoming rabbis and eventually won over Rabbi Max Dienemann, executive director of the Conference of Liberal Rabbis, in 1935.

Mordecai Kaplan

The founder of Reconstructionist Judaism, Mordecai Kaplan struck a fundamental blow for women’s participation in Jewish ritual with the bat mitzvah of his eldest daughter, Judith.

An Early Confirmation Certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D. (Page 3 of 3)

confirmation-certificate-hannah-desola-4.jpg

An early confirmation certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D. (Page 3 of 3).

Page 1, page 2.

Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Other license (see note)

An early confirmation certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D. (Page 3 of 3).

Page 1, page 2.

Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.

An Early Confirmation Certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D. (Page 2 of 3)

confirmation-certificate-hannah-desola-3.jpg

An early confirmation certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D. (Page 2 of 3).

Page 1, page 3.

Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rights
Other license (see note)

An early confirmation certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D. (Page 2 of 3).

Page 1, page 3.

Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.

An Early Confirmation Certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D. (Page 1 of 3)

confirmation-certificate-hannah-desola-2.jpg

An early confirmation certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D.

Page 2, page 3.

Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rights
Other license (see note)

An early confirmation certificate for the Island of St. Thomas, Dutch West Indies by Rabbi David Philipson D.D.

Page 2, page 3.

Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Prayer for Confirmation by Rev. Dr. Max Lilienthal, 1881

cincinnati-prayer-for-confirmation.jpg

Prayer for Confirmation by Rev. Dr. Max Lilienthal. April 20, 1881.
Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Other license (see note)

Prayer for Confirmation by Rev. Dr. Max Lilienthal. April 20, 1881.
Courtesy of The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio

Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen, 2014 Twersky Award Winner

deborah-cohen-picture.jpg
Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen, winner of the 2014 Twersky Award.
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JWA use only on jwa.org

Rabbi Deborah Bodin Cohen, winner of the 2014 Twersky Award.

Related content:

Linda Joy Holtzman

linda_joy_holtzman.jpg
Rabbi Linda Joy Holtzman.
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JWA use only on jwa.org
Contributor: Submitter
Benson, Stephen

Rabbi Linda Joy Holtzman.

Related content:

Building a Memory

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.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on May 28, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/rabbis>.

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