As a teenager, Sally Gottesman lobbied for the first Saturday morning bat mitzvah at her synagogue; as an adult, she created groups for teens of both genders to discover a deeper connection to Judaism. Gottesman asked her synagogue for a full bat mitzvah on a Saturday morning, including reading Torah, instead of the shorter girls ceremony the synagogue usually offered girls on Friday nights. In her letter, Gottesman said, “knowing that I am an equal makes me want to continue my studies.” True to her word, after earning Masters degrees in public and private management from Yale, Gottesman became a consultant and activist in the Jewish community for groups including the Hebrew Free Loan Society, and the Israel Women’s Network. She is the founding chair of Moving Traditions: the Jewish Gender and Lifecycle Initiative, which runs Rosh Hodesh groups and brotherhood groups (Shevet Achim) for post-bat/bar mitzvah teens. She also serves on the boards of a number of Jewish nonprofits, including the American Jewish World Service, Americans for Peace Now, the Jewish Funders Network, and is a former board member of the Jewish Women’s Archive.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Sally Gottesman." (Viewed on April 18, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/gottesman-sally>.