We’re expanding our Encyclopedia of Jewish Women and we need your help! Know an extraordinary Jewish woman whose story should be told? Nominate her to be included!
Close [x]

Show [+]


You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

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. Evans, who had been the decorating director for St. Louis’s largest department store, became the first full-time head of NFTS in 1933. A skilled equestrian, she joked that she could as easily have joined the circus, but spent the next forty years wrangling committees instead. She pioneered Judaica shops in temples as a way to teach congregants how to use ritual objects at home, and oversaw the Union of Reform Judaism’s move from Cincinnati to New York. More importantly, she directed NFTS to pass resolutions protesting child labor and promoting civil rights and access to birth control, raising awareness of social issues throughout the Reform movement. In 1957 she spoke at the URJ convention, urging the Reform movement to allow women’s ordination. While she was unsuccessful at that time, she continued pushing for a resolution in favor of women rabbis, laying the groundwork for 1972 ordination of Sally Priesand. Evans retired in 1976 but remained involved with NFTS until her death.

Date of Birth
Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Jane Evans." (Viewed on March 21, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/evans-jane>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews


Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs