Episode 74: A Half-Century of Women Rabbis

Fifty years ago, Rabbi Sally Priesand made history by becoming the first woman rabbi in America. In this episode of Can We Talk?, women rabbis from three Jewish denominations reflect on the milestone. We speak with Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses, Rabba Sara Hurwitz, and Rabbi Sandra Lawson about the challenges they’ve faced, and about how their presence in the rabbinate is shaping the Jewish community. This is the final episode in our three-part anniversary series.

This episode included Color Country by The Balloonist from Blue Dot Sessions. 

Released April 12, 2022
  • This photograph was taken in 1972, when Sally Jane Priesand became the first woman in the United States to be ordained as a rabbi. She faced many challenges on the road to acceptance. But she continued to struggle to carve a place for herself—and for all women—within the panoramic diversity of Judaism.

    Institution: The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, OH, www.americanjewisharchives.org and Garrett Cope, Citizen Patriot, Jackson, MI

  • Rabbi Sandra Lawson

  • Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses. Photo courtesy of Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses. 

  • Courtesy of Yeshivat Maharat.

  • Sally Priesand, 1972
  • Rabbi Sandra Lawson
  • Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses 2022
  • Sara Hurwitz 2018 Headshot


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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Episode 74: A Half-Century of Women Rabbis." (Viewed on February 28, 2024) <http://jwa.org/podcasts/canwetalk/episode-74-half-century-women-rabbis>.