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Ray Frank

Ray Frank paved the way for women to serve as rabbis with her passionate and incisive preaching. Frank’s early work as a newspaper correspondent enabled her to travel the West Coast, where she delivered her first High Holidays sermon in newly established Spokane, Washington. Called “the Maiden in the Temple” and “the first woman since Deborah to preach in a synagogue,” Frank embraced her new career, speaking to women’s groups, leading services in synagogues, and preaching from the pulpit throughout the Pacific region. While she studied briefly at Hebrew Union College and was offered leadership of several synagogues, Frank never pursued official ordination. Still, both the quality of her preaching and her widespread popularity led to the first serious discussion in America of women serving as rabbis.

Ray Frank, circa 1890
Full image
An early photograph of Ray Frank circa 1890.
Institution: American Jewish Historical Society
Date of Birth
April 10, 1861
Place of Birth
San Francisco, California
Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ray Frank." (Viewed on February 18, 2019) <>.


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