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. Eilberg majored in Jewish studies at Brandeis, where she became involved in Hillel. After college, she went on to do graduate work in Talmud at the Jewish Theological Seminary, hoping to become a rabbi—and when JTS admitted the first class of women to the rabbinical school in 1984, the faculty decided Eilberg needed only one more year of study to qualify for ordination. After becoming a rabbi, Eilberg first worked as a hospital chaplain and then assistant rabbi at a synagogue, but soon stepped down, realizing her true passion was for chaplaincy work. She helped create the Jewish healing movement and co-founded the Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, which offers counseling and rituals for the ill, the dying, and the bereaved. Eilberg now serves as director of the Pardes Rodef Shalom Communities Program, helping synagogues and Jewish organizations practice conflict resolution and pursue peace.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Amy Eilberg." (Viewed on April 10, 2021) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/eilberg-amy>.