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Amy Eilberg ordained as first female Conservative rabbi

May 12, 1985

Amy Eilberg became the first woman ordained as a Conservative Rabbi at the Jewish Theological Seminary's commencement exercises in New York City.

Judith Kaplan celebrates first American Bat Mitzvah ceremony

March 18, 1922

Judith Kaplan (Eisenstein) became the first American Bat Mitzvah.

The New York Times reports on naming ceremonies for Jewish girls

March 14, 1977

The New York Times reported on the emergence of formal naming ceremonies for newborn Jewish girls.

Rachel Adler receives National Jewish Book Award

March 11, 1999

Rachel Adler was awarded the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought for "Engendering Judaism: A New Theology and Ethics."

Oranges, Miriam's Cup, and Other Passover Rituals

Passover is next week. How did that happen?! I haven't even begun to prepare, but was reminded that I better get on the ball after reading the opinion piece "Raising Cups, Dropping Oranges" by Aurora Mendelsohn in the Forward. Mendelsohn discusses the ways in which her Seder's feminist rituals have changed over the past decade: Miriam's Cup has endured while the orange on the Seder plate has disappeared.

Torah Study

The commandment of Torah study is a positive Biblical precept.


Because most Jewish texts of the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, as throughout most of Jewish history, were written in Hebrew by men for other men, we have very little direct evidence of women’s religious lives. Tkhines (Yiddish, from Hebrew tehinnot, “supplications”), private devotions and paraliturgical prayers in Yiddish, primarily for women, were published beginning in the early modern period, especially in Central and Eastern Europe and among Yiddish-speaking populations elsewhere.

Spirituality in the United States

Spirituality can be defined as life lived in the presence of God. It embraces not only traditional and formal modes of religious expression, but also more informal individual and communal efforts to remain mindful of the sacred in all aspects of experience.


The rabbinic discourse of sex has been at one and the same time both empowering and sharply disabling for women. In constraining all women to be wives and mothers, the possibilities for women’s lives have been severely constrained and to a great extent women’s roles have been denigrated as well.

Observance of Mitzvot: Custom and Halakhah

Numerous accounts scattered throughout early halakhic literature indicate that women had many traditions and customs of their own. Their religious life was characterized by a degree of independence and was not exclusively dependent on external halakhic norms. The manner in which women observed mitzvot was extremely influential in the formative stage of halakhah, before it was crystallized, recorded and sealed in the Shulhan Arukh.


How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ritual." (Viewed on November 29, 2015) <>.


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