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.

0 Comments

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Date of Birth
1907
Date of Death
2004
Occupations
Organizational Leader

How to cite this page

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

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

Can We Talk?

listen now

Get JWA in your inbox