Carrie ObendorferSimon

Carrie Obendorfer Simon helped shape the Reform movement as founder of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, which quickly became the largest Jewish women’s organization in America. Married in 1896 to Abram Simon, a young Reform rabbi, Simon embraced her role as a rebbetzin, following her husband to pulpits in Sacramento and Nebraska before settling in Washington, DC in 1904. Simon began her career as a volunteer in her local chapter of the National Council of Jewish Women, but became increasingly frustrated that the organization, challenged by rifts between Orthodox and Reform members, chose to avoid religious issues altogether. She therefore turned her attention to Temple Sisterhoods, becoming founding president of NFTS from 1913–1919. During her presidency, she organized religious schools, increased synagogue attendance, and urged the Reform movement to include more women on synagogue boards and welcome intermarried couples. She also created a scholarship committee for rabbinical students and lay leaders. After her term ended, she remained active as honorary president and watched the organization grow to a membership of 100,000 globally. She also volunteered with the Jewish Braille Institute of America, transcribing English, Yiddish, and Hebrew books for the blind.

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Carrie Obendorfer Simon founded the Reform movement's National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods in 1913. Two years later, it had become the largest Jewish women's religious organization in the United States.

Institution: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH,

Date of Birth

Uniontown, AL
United States

Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Carrie Obendorfer Simon." (Viewed on January 29, 2020) <>.


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