The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

Features thousands of biographic and thematic essays on Jewish women around the world. Learn more

Kinneret Shiryon

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Kinneret Shiryon until we are able to commission a full entry.

Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon in 2015. Photo courtesy of Kinneret Shiryon.

The first female congregational rabbi to serve in Israel, Kinneret Shiryon went on to establish Kehillat Yozma, the first non-Orthodox congregation to receive funding from the state. Born Sandra Levine, Shiryon was ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1981 and made Aliyah in 1983. She led her first congregation, Ramat Aviv, for seven years before joining a small group to found Kehillat Yozma in Modi’in, a new city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, in 1997. Because Israel had historically been unsupportive of non-Orthodox denominations of Judaism, it then took eleven years to receive funds to construct a building for the synagogue, which broke ground in 2008. Shiryon continues to serve as rabbi there as of 2016. Kehillat Yozma (Initiative) is known for its social justice partnerships, such as with the Beit Eden community for special-needs children and various outreach efforts to economically struggling families. It also boasts the first Reform day school to receive state funding from the Israeli government. Shiryon was the first woman to chair the Council of Progressive Rabbis in Israel (MARAM), and continues to be an outspoken advocate for Reform Judaism in Israel.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Kinneret Shiryon." (Viewed on May 28, 2023) <>.


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