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Religious Movements

Orthodox Feminism

A lot of people leave Orthodoxy because of the sexism. Honestly, it’s really hard to stay. Being a teenager with friends who are all forming their identities, I struggle with this a lot. Many of my friends are leaving the movement because they are tired of tirelessly fighting, enduring, and never being equal. 

Holy Glass Ceiling

On June 13th, 2013, three women graduated from the Yeshivat Maharat and were ordained with the title of maharat, or female spiritual leader. Even then, the Rabbinic Counsel of America (RCA) refused to recognize these women as part of the Orthodox Rabbinate. This is a two steps forward, one step back situation. 

Pop(e)ular

Religious leaders aren’t normally considered cool by teenagers, but Pope Francis is most definitely an exception. As a teenager myself, I can say that the Catholic Church was not at all on my radar until he started making waves. 

Belda Lindenbaum, 1938 - 2015

In 2009, when Rabbi Weiss and I founded Yeshivat Maharat, the first institution to ordain Orthodox women as clergy, there was only one person who we knew would be crazy enough to dream with us. I went to see Belda, to ask for seed funding. I was nervous. Having only just been ordained myself, I was not a fundraiser. So I took Rabbi Jeff Fox, our Rosh Yeshiva, along with me. We sat together and talked about an Orthodox Jewish community where men and women could be partners in spiritual leadership. Then, Rabbi Fox asked her for a gift.

Bluma Rivkin

Bluma Rivkin’s experiences of the devastation of Katrina and the struggles to rebuild were profoundly shaped by her humor, her compassion, and her work as a shlucha (Chabad emissary).

Bluma Rivkin

Accustomed as a shlucha (Chabad emissary) to helping those in her community, Bluma Rivkin went into action after Hurricane Katrina, first with the pressing concerns of finding housing and aid for evacuees, then with the larger task of rebuilding the community.

Elena Kagan

One of the rare Supreme Court Justices who had never served as a lower court judge, Elena Kagan has made her mark on the court as a liberal Justice with a gift for engaging dissents that avoided legal jargon.

Naama Shafir

Committed to both her athletic career and her Orthodox faith, Naama Shafir faced challenges alien to most basketball players, from walking to games on Shabbat to altering uniforms for modesty.

Deborah Waxman

In 2014, Rabbi Deborah Waxman became the first woman (and first lesbian) to simultaneously lead both a seminary and a congregational organization as head of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and the Jewish Reconstructionist Communities.

Jane Evans

Although she never became a rabbi, Jane Evans, Executive Director of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, became a powerful voice for women’s ordination within the Reform Movement.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Religious Movements." (Viewed on June 25, 2016) <http://jwa.org/topics/religious-movements>.

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