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Rabbis

How Does My Identity Inform My Actions?

Consider how Jewish experiences and values – in both conscious and unconscious ways – informed the actions of Jews in the Civil Rights Movement, and inform our own allegiances and behaviors.

Celebrating Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, the first woman Reconstructionalist rabbi

Thirty-six years ago today, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was ordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Philadelphia on May 19, 1974.

Jewish feminism, then and now

Yesterday I celebrated Mother's Day in an unusual way.

Who's your Rabba?

Raised as a Reform Jew by an ardent feminist, it was drilled into me that I could grow up to be anything I wanted. An astronaut, a doctor, the President — whatever (though I’m sure an underemployed freelance writer slacker mom wasn’t what my highly accomplished mother had in mind.)

Sara Hurwitz adopts the title of Rabbah

January 27, 2010

Sara Hurwitz, originally given the title of Maharat, a term created on her behalf, took on the title “Rabbah,” the feminine form of rabbi.

From Maharat to Rabbah

A year ago we congratulated Sara Hurwitz on becoming a Maharat.  Today we rejoice in her new title: Rabbah.

The subject of ordaining Orthodox women rabbis is highly controversial. Last year Sara Hurwitz completed the required course of study in Yoreh Deah to become a spiritual leader, but instead of receiving the title of rabbi, a new title was created for her.  "Maharat" was created from an acronym that loosely translates to mean a leader in religious law and spirtual matters.

Ray Frank

Ray Frank's position in American Jewry was truly a novel one. In 1890, she became the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit in the United States, inaugurating a career as "the Girl Rabbi of the Golden West" that would help to blaze new paths for women in Judaism. Virtually overnight, Frank became a sensation in the Jewish world, and she would remain so for nearly a decade.

Ray Frank: "Lady Preacher" of the West

One-hundred and nineteen years ago today, Ray Frank became the first Jewish woman to speak from a synagogue pulpit in the United States. Ray Frank's story is particularly intriguing due to its complexity and the questions it raises. This was undoubtedly an important event in American Jewish women's history, but its impact is not straightforward, and thinking of Ray Frank as a heroine of the women's movement is somewhat problematic.

Mazel Tov, Alysa Stanton!

Apropos of Judith's recent post on Sotomayor and other "firsts," here's a celebratory shout-out to Alysa Stanton who became the world's first African-American female rabbi when she was ordained yesterday, June 6th, at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) in Cincinnati. What does Stanton make of her status as a first? "If I were the 50,000th, I'd still be doing what I do, trying to live my life with kavanah and kedusha ... Me being first was just the luck of the draw," she explained.

Alysa Stanton ordained as first African-American female rabbi

June 6, 2009

Alysa Stanton becomes the world's first African-American female rabbi.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on September 2, 2015) <http://jwa.org/topics/rabbis>.

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