The Shalvi/Hyman Encyclopedia of Jewish Women

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

Toba Spitzer

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

Toba Spitzer became the first openly gay head of a rabbinic organization in 2007 when she became president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. Spitzer graduated from Harvard in 1986 and began working for the Jewish Peace Lobby in Washington, DC. Inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to root her social justice work in religion, she decided to become a rabbi, earning ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1997. While still a rabbinical student, she organized a rabbinic delegation to Haiti to serve as witnesses and uphold human rights during the military junta. After ordination, she became the rabbi of Congregation Dorshei Tzedek in Massachusetts, where she still serves as of 2016. As a member of the advisory board for J Street and treasurer of Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Spitzer continues to fight for social justice. She was honored as both one of the Forward 50 and Newsweek’s top 50 rabbis in 2008 and was given the Elizabeth Wyner Mark Peace Award by Americans for Peace Now in 2015.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Toba Spitzer." (Viewed on May 29, 2023) <>.


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