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Amy Eilberg's ordination
Women Rabbis
Amy Eilberg, the first Conservative female rabbi, at her ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, 1985. Copyright Joyce Culver.

Women Rabbis

Since 1972, when rabbinical schools began ordaining women, women rabbis have transformed Jewish life around the world. In partnership with the Story Archive of Women Rabbis (a project of Jewish Women’s Theatre), which began conducting these interviews in 2009, the Jewish Women’s Archive has created this exhibit using video clips of women rabbis from across the Jewish spectrum telling powerful stories about their role models and leadership styles, their faith and their families, and the challenges and blessings they’ve encountered along the way.

Sally Priesand, 1972

Rabbis

From veterans of the women’s movement to the newest generation of social justice leaders, from American pioneers to women rabbis continuing to break new ground around the world—discover the stories of women who have transformed the rabbinate … and the Jewish community.
Wedding of Tamara Cohen and Gwynn Kessler, 2004, cropped

Themes

The lives of these trailblazing women rabbis are each unique, yet patterns emerge from their stories: the joy and challenges of answering a calling, the difficulty of helping others when you yourself are in crisis, the need for role models and mentors, and the wonderful, uncharted territories you discover when your spiritual journey doesn’t match the roadmap of tradition.
Women Rabbis at Regina Jonas Archive

Timeline of Women in the Rabbinate

Although the first woman rabbi, Regina Jonas, was ordained in 1935, her death in Auschwitz in 1944 marked a long pause before women's ordination became a possibility again. Learn more about the milestones that helped bring women rabbis to every denomination and to countries around the globe.
Regina Jonas by Marlis Glaser, 2014

Regina Jonas Remembered

Who was the first woman rabbi and why don’t we know about her? Discover the story of Regina Jonas through articles, sermons, teaching resources, and a short documentary film.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women Rabbis." (Viewed on November 20, 2017) <https://jwa.org/rabbis>.

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