Ellen M. Umansky

Ellen M. Umansky serves as the Carl and Dorothy Bennett Professor of Judaic Studies at Fairfield University in Fairfield, Connecticut. The author of numerous essays, book chapters, and reviews on modern Jewish history and thought, and on women in Judaism, she is also the author of two books on Lily Montagu, founder of the Liberal Jewish movement in England; co-editor of Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality: A Source Book and From Christian Science to Jewish Science: Spiritual Healing and American Jews (2005).

Articles by this author

Lily Montagu

Lilian Helen Montagu was a British social worker, a magistrate in the London juvenile courts, suffragist, writer, religious organizer, and spiritual leader who founded and long remained the driving force behind the Liberal Jewish movement in England.

Tehilla Lichtenstein

In 1951, the New York–based Society of Jewish Science published a small pamphlet entitled “What to Tell your Friends About Jewish Science.” Written by the society’s leader, Tehilla Lichtenstein, the pamphlet sought to clarify the differences between the religions of Jewish Science and Christian Science. Portraying Christian Science as the outgrowth of a Christian philosophy of denial, Lichtenstein defined Jewish Science as the positive application of Jewish teachings to everyday life. She elaborated on this idea in over five hundred sermons delivered between 1938 and 1972, becoming the first Jewish American woman to serve as the spiritual leader of an ongoing Jewish congregation. While the society, which continues to exist, never sought formal affiliation with any of American Judaism’s major religious movements, it retains strong historical and theological ties to classical Reform Judaism.

Ray Frank

While her career was short-lived, Ray Frank remains significant as the first Jewish woman to preach from a pulpit in the United States, and the first to be seen as a Jewish religious leader.

Paula Ackerman

At the turn of the twentieth century, a young girl from Pensacola, Florida, named Paula Herskovitz dreamed of one day becoming a medical doctor. Believing that the medical profession was unsuitable for women, her father insisted that she abandon her dream. Yet decades later, she embarked upon a career he no doubt would have found equally unsuitable: she became a spiritual leader.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ellen M. Umansky." (Viewed on January 22, 2021) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/author/umansky-ellen>.


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