Rachel Adler

Feminist theologian Rachel Adler.

Institution: Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles.

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. Raised as a Reform Jew, Adler took on a stricter relationship with the tradition when she married an Orthodox rabbi in 1964, but as she began learning Jewish texts and deepening her spiritual life, she began to chafe against the rules that excluded her. Her groundbreaking 1971 essay, “The Jew Who Wasn’t There,” argued that in the face of Jewish women’s traditional exclusion from the active roles enjoyed by men, the answer was not for feminists to abandon Judaism, but to reform it. Adler continued to reinterpret Jewish law and tradition, offering women new ways to participate in the Jewish community, and her book Engendering Judaism: An Inclusive Theology and Ethics earned her the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought, the first time the award was given to a woman theologian. After a lifetime as a spiritual seeker, Rachel Adler was finally ordained as a rabbi by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles in 2012, where she teaches as of 2016.


Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Shalom I'm an native American Indian I'm researching my tribunal cultural from UK grandparents are from Israel about 1900s please allow me to follow you on this website for my background history for Judaism colleges and family history Shalom and may Yahweh bless you all in these times of trouble Shalom love Philindia



Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Get JWA in your inbox

Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.

sign up now

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rachel Adler." (Viewed on February 28, 2024) <http://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/adler-rachel>.