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. Born in Detroit, Gold moved to Israel in 1977, joined Kibbutz Gezer with other American expatriates, and began leading services for the kibbutz. In 1993, after helping her daughter prepare for the bat mitzvah she herself had been denied as a girl, she decided to become a rabbi. Ordained by Hebrew Union College in Israel in 1999, she became the official rabbi of Kibbutz Gezer, with her salary (like those of many non-Orthodox rabbis) underwritten by donations from abroad. In 2005 Gold petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court on behalf of herself and other Reform rabbis, and after seven years, the Israeli attorney general ruled in their favor. The government eventually complied, but chose to pay Gold and other non-Orthodox rabbis through the Ministry of Culture, not the Ministry of Religious Services. Despite that caveat, Gold views the victory as more than just financial, because it draws attention to options for religious engagement beyond Orthodoxy. She continues doing outreach to unaffiliated Israelis.
More on Miri Gold
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Miri Gold." (Viewed on December 9, 2023) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/gold-miri>.
Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.
Get JWA in your inbox
Read the latest from JWA from your inbox.