Ruth Balinsky Friedman

Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman, photo courtesy of Maharat 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. The daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, Friedman grew up surrounded by Jewish study and practice, but had no female models for Orthodox women’s religious leadership. She found herself searching for meaning after graduating from Barnard in 2007, a quest that brought her to Drisha, an intensive Jewish text study program for women. Then in 2009 she heard about the ordination of Sara Hurwitz and the founding of Yeshivat Maharat and immediately applied for the first cohort, which graduated from the new institution in 2013. She then began working for Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue in Washington, DC, where among her many responsibilities, she oversees conversions, leads adult education programs, and counsels couples on issues of infertility. As a founding member of the Beltway VAAD, she also helps shape religious guidelines for the Orthodox community of the DC area.


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Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Balinsky Friedman." (Viewed on May 18, 2024) <>.