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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.

Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler has always challenged her religion from within, from her early days as a pioneer of the Jewish feminist movement to her later ordination as a rabbi.

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Sharon Cohen Anisfeld has brought her passion for activism into her role as dean of the rabbinical school at Hebrew College, inspiring her students to blend both engagement with tradition and engagement with social justice.

Pauline Bebe

Pauline Bebe’s struggles to become the first women rabbi to serve in France have made her sensitive to the importance of welcoming people of all backgrounds to participate in Jewish life.

Amy Bernstein

Amy Bernstein has used her position as rabbi of one of the largest Reconstructionist synagogues in the country to create the kind of welcoming community that she longed for at an earlier age.

Sharon Brous

Sharon Brous’s personal quest for a meaningful Jewish life led her to found IKAR, a community blending innovative spirituality and strong social justice values to reengage disaffected Jews.

Angela Buchdahl

As the first Asian-American rabbi and cantor, Angela Buchdahl has shifted people’s perceptions of what it means to look Jewish, but it is her intellect, charisma, and deep spiritual curiosity that have made her the senior rabbi at a prestigious Manhattan synagogue.

Dianne Cohler-Esses

As the first woman rabbi from the Syrian community, Dianne Cohler-Esses has used teaching to open up new possibilities for others.

Ellen Dreyfus

As one of the first women rabbis (and the first to be ordained while pregnant), Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus helped create a model for work-life balance for both women and men in the rabbinate.

Gesa Ederberg

Gesa Ederberg’s status as the first woman rabbi to serve in Berlin since the Holocaust has helped her reinvigorate the German community that once represented the cutting edge of liberal Judaism.

Lisa Edwards

As a rabbi serving the oldest LGBT synagogue in Los Angeles, Lisa Edwards has worked for decades to make the Jewish community a more welcoming place for gays, lesbians, and transgender Jews.

Denise Eger

As one of the first openly gay rabbis, Denise Eger has spent her career working for greater LGBT inclusion in Jewish communities.

Amy Eilberg

Defying expectations placed on her as the first woman rabbi ordained by the Conservative Movement, Amy Eilberg forged her own path as a chaplain and pastoral counselor.

Jacqueline Koch Ellenson

Jacqueline Koch Ellenson used her position as director of the Women’s Rabbinic Network to advocate for women’s equality in the profession.

Sue Levi Elwell

A pioneer of inclusive Judaism as one of the first openly gay women rabbis, Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell helped empower countless Jewish women to take ownership of Jewish tradition.

Tamara Cohn Eskenazi

For Tamara Cohn Eskenazi, editor of The Torah: A Women’s Commentary, becoming a rabbi was the culmination of a lifelong examination of the intersection of women and faith.

Mimi Feigelson

Reb Mimi Feigelson teaches the tradition of her Hasidic forbears through the lens of her own experience as the first Orthodox woman rabbi.

Nina Bieber Feinstein

Nina Bieber Feinstein spent years laying the groundwork for women’s ordination before becoming the second woman rabbi ordained by the Conservative Movement.

Rachel Kohl Finegold

A member of the first class to graduate from Yeshivat Maharat, a seminary for ordaining Orthodox Jewish women, Rachel Kohl Finegold is the first Orthodox woman to serve in a clergy position at a Canadian synagogue.

Karen Fox

As a rabbi and a psychotherapist, Karen Fox guides and supports clients, congregants, and students on their different journeys.

Ruth Balinsky Friedman

As a member of the first cohort to graduate from Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox seminary for ordaining women, Ruth Balinsky Friedman is helping shape what religious leadership will look like for the next generation of Orthodox women and girls.

Laura Geller

One of the first women rabbis, Laura Geller has helped create new possibilities for Jewish women, from rituals to leadership roles.

Miri Gold

Miri Gold achieved a major coup for religious equality in 2012 when she became the first non-Orthodox rabbi to have her salary paid by the Israeli government.

Elyse Goldstein

As one of the first women rabbis in Canada, Elyse Goldstein has broken down barriers by founding inclusive communities for learning and prayer.

Tina Grimberg

Denied the opportunity to explore her Jewish heritage as a child in Soviet Ukraine, Tina Grimberg has used her career in the rabbinate to ensure inclusivity in the Jewish community.

Susan Grossman

As a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS), Rabbi Susan Grossman has helped shape the Conservative Movement’s policies on women’s rights and their roles in Jewish life.

Jill Hammer

As co-founder of the Kohenet Hebrew Priestess Institute, Jill Hammer blends ancient and modern spiritual practices to offer women alternative ways of connecting with Jewish tradition.

Delphine Horvilleur

Delphine Horvilleur is helping transform the traditional French Jewish community through her work as a leader of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France.

Sara Hurwitz

Sara Hurwitz, the first Modern Orthodox woman rabbi ordained in the United States, has worked to help her community grapple with reconciling women’s participation and a strict interpretation of Jewish law.

Jill Jacobs

As the executive director of T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Jill Jacobs has pushed for rabbis to act as social justice leaders in their communities on issues from environmental reform to condemning torture.

Naamah Kelman

The descendent of ten generations of esteemed rabbis, Naamah Kelman has honored her heritage by becoming the first woman rabbi ordained in Israel.

Zoe Klein

Zoe Klein has blended her work as a rabbi and her craft as a novelist to help congregants find meaning in the stories of their own lives.

Claudia Kreiman

After losing her mother in a terrorist bombing, Claudia Kreiman chose to honor her mother’s legacy and combine her parents’ careers by becoming both a rabbi and a Jewish educator.

Lynne Landsberg

Lynne Landsberg had focused her rabbinic career on fighting for social justice, but when a car accident left her disabled, that fight became far more personal.

Joy Levitt

Rabbi Joy Levitt earned high honors as the first female head of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA), then continued to shape the movement after her term’s end, through her inclusive approach to both prayer and politics.

Naomi Levy

Both in her writing and from the pulpit, Naomi Levy has drawn upon her own experiences of weathering crisis to give others the tools to survive.

Dalia Marx

As a professor of liturgy at the Jerusalem campus of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, where students from around the world learn to become Reform rabbis, Dalia Marx is helping to shape how a new generation approaches prayer.

Avis Miller

As someone who came to the rabbinate later in life, Avis Miller has searched for new ways to educate and engage those on the margins of the Jewish community.

Haviva Ner-David

Haviva Ner-David’s 2006 ordination made her one of the first Orthodox women to claim the title of “Rabbi,” part of her lifelong work to enable Jewish women—and Jews in general—to reexamine and reengage with the tradition.

Julia Neuberger

Baroness Julia Neuberger’s work as a rabbi helps guide her decisions as a voting member of the House of Lords.

Sally J. Priesand

Throughout her career, Sally J. Priesand has grappled with her role as the first woman rabbi ordained in America.

Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah

As both one of the first women and one of the first openly gay rabbis to be ordained in Britain, Elli Tikvah Sarah has shattered assumptions about what it means to be part of—and to lead—the Jewish community.

Sandy Sasso

The first woman rabbi ordained by the Reconstructionist movement, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso has used her career as an award-winning author to change how children and adults think about women in Jewish tradition.

Julie Schonfeld

As the first female executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization for Conservative rabbis, Julie Schonfeld has helped shape the Conservative movement’s approach to prayer as well as its response to world politics.

Julie Schwartz

Julie Schwartz’s decision to become the first woman rabbi to serve as an active duty chaplain in the US Military broadened women’s roles in Jewish and civic leadership.

Tanya Segal

As the first full-time female rabbi in Poland, Tanya Segal has creatively transformed Jewish life in the historic city of Krakow, the site of previous revolutions in Jewish thought and practice.

Kinneret Shiryon

The first woman rabbi in Israel, Kinneret Shiryon has helped introduce Israelis to the possibilities of liberal Judaism and significantly advanced religious equality in Israel when her synagogue, Kehillat Yozma, became the first non-Orthodox congregation to receive funding from the state.

Mychal Springer

Mychal Springer created the Center for Pastoral Education to enable hospital chaplains of all backgrounds to learn from Jewish models for visiting the sick while incorporating the wisdom of other pastoral traditions.

Shira Stutman

Shira Stutman’s belief in the importance of “radical welcoming” informs everything about the way she cultivates community as senior rabbi of Washington DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.

Jackie Tabick

Jackie Tabick helped pave the way for others as Great Britain’s first female rabbi.

Elaine Zecher

Rabbi Elaine Zecher’s own experiences as a breast cancer survivor have shaped both her career as a congregational rabbi and her work in helping create new rituals to honor both illness and healing.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on December 13, 2019) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators>.

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