Episode 72: Ezrat Nashim Confronts the Rabbis

Fifty years ago, a group of young Jewish women piled into two cars and drove to upstate New York to crash the annual meeting of the all-male Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement. They called themselves Ezrat Nashim and they had a set of demands that included the right to be counted in a minyan, lead religious services, and attend rabbinical school. Their brief but brave action had ripple effects across American Jewish communities. In this second episode of Can We Talk?'s anniversary series, Judith Rosenbaum talks with Martha Ackelsberg, Dina Rosenfeld, and Leora Fishman, three of the women who were involved. Judith's mother, the Jewish feminist scholar Paula Hyman z"l, was also part of Ezrat Nashim. We dedicate this episode to her.

Released March 29, 2022
  • New York Post article about Ezrat Nashim from March 14, 1972. Courtesy of Leora Fishman. 

  • Ezrat Nashim’s “Call for Change,” presented to the Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement on March 14, 1972.

    Courtesy of the personal archive of Paula Hyman.

  • Ezrat Nashim flyer to announce meeting with women (rabbis' wives) at Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement, March 14, 1972.

    From the personal archive of Paula Hyman. View PDF.

  • Leora Fishman, center, and Bette Braun, another member of Ezrat Nashim, right, talk to Syliva Ettenberg, an administrator at the Jewish Theological Seminary, at the Rabbinical Assembly in March 1972. Photo courtesy of Leora Fishman. 

  • Paula Hyman in the early '70s. Photo courtesy of Judith Rosenbaum. 

  • New York Post article about Ezrat Nashim; headline reads "10 Orthodox Feminists Confronting the Rabbis" and photo shows a group of women sitting and talking
  • Ezrat Nashim’s “Jewish Women Call for Change,” March 14, 1972
  • Ezrat Nashim Flyer to Women at Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative Movement Convention, March 14, 1972
  • Leora Fishman and Bette Braun talk to Sylvia Ettenberg at the Rabbinical Assembly
  • Photo of Paula Hyman from the early '70s

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Episode 72: Ezrat Nashim Confronts the Rabbis." (Viewed on January 28, 2023) <https://jwa.org/podcasts/canwetalk/episode-72-ezrat-nashim-confronts-rabbis>.

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