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. Feinstein earned a BA in Jewish studies from Brandeis University in 1977 and immediately began studying for a master’s degree in Talmud and rabbinic literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary—the closest she could come at the time to a rabbinic education. Although she joined with other women in petitioning the faculty to allow women’s ordination, she graduated in 1980 without the title of rabbi. Three years later, while juggling her responsibilities as a new mother, she learned that JTS was finally open to the possibility of women rabbis. She returned to the Seminary to earn her ordination in 1986, after which she briefly served as chaplain for the Jewish Home for the Aged in Dallas. She then became founding director of Hillel at the University of California Riverside and associate rabbi at a recovery center called Beit Tshuvah, where she created a prayer book that is still in use. As of 2017 she teaches rabbinics at the Ziegler School of the American Jewish University in Los Angeles and serves as the founding rabbi of the N’Shama Minyan at Valley Beth Shalom.