Irene Fine

Faced with a mandatory internship for her PhD but nowhere she could actually practice Jewish feminist scholarship, Irene Fine created the innovative Woman’s Institute for Continuing Jewish Education in 1977. After studying for two years at Hebrew Union College, Fine was at the time getting a PhD at the Union Graduate School, combining Jewish studies, women’s studies, and adult education. There was no facility in the area that would let her teach courses on Jewish women. Undeterred, she created the Woman’s Institute, which offered courses on Torah, Talmud, and midrash as well as a Shabbat lecture series where noted feminist scholars could present their research. The Institute published feminist rituals and prayers for Jewish holidays, books of women’s midrashim, and the San Diego Women’s Haggadah, one of the first resources for feminist Seders. Beyond her work leading the Institute, Fine wrote Educating the New Jewish Woman: a Dynamic Approach in 1985 and Midlife: a Rite of Passage/The Wise Woman, A Celebration in 1988, and she edited an anthology, The Shabbat Series: Excellence in Education of Jewish Women, in 1997.


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Date of Birth

Wadena, MN
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Irene Fine ." (Viewed on April 17, 2021) <>.


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