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

Miri Gold

In a landmark case in 2012, Miri Gold became the first non-Orthodox rabbi to have her salary paid by the Israeli government. Raised in a Detroit Jewish community where she was denied a bat mitzvah, Gold made Aliyah in 1977 and joined Kibbutz Gezer with other American expatriates. She began leading services informally and helping children study for bar and bat mitzvahs, but didn’t consider ordination until her own daughter’s bat mitzvah in 1993. She was ordained by Hebrew Union College in Israel in 1999 and became the official rabbi of Kibbutz Gezer, with her salary (like those of many non-Orthodox rabbis) underwritten by donations from abroad. In 2005 Gold petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of herself and other Reform rabbis, and after seven years, the Israeli attorney general ruled in their favor. After some resistance, the government complied, but chose to pay salaries for Gold and other non-Orthodox rabbis through the ministry of culture, not the ministry of religious services. Despite that caveat, Gold views the victory as more than just financial, because it draws attention to options for religious engagement beyond Orthodoxy. She continues doing outreach to unaffiliated Israelis.

More on Miri Gold
Miri Gold
Full image
Rabbi Miri Gold, photo courtesy of Miri Gold.
Place of Birth
Detroit, Michigan

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Miri Gold." (Viewed on March 22, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/gold-miri>.


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