Haviva Ner-David

Haviva Ner-David’s 2006 ordination made her one of the first Orthodox women to claim the title of “Rabbi,” part of her lifelong work to enable Jewish women—and Jews in general—to reexamine and reengage with the tradition. Born Haviva Krasner-Davidson, Ner-David was raised Orthodox, but the lower expectations for girls’ participation caused her to check out of synagogue life. As she became more involved in Jewish study as an adult, she applied to Yeshiva University’s rabbinical program in 1993 but never received a response from the university. She went on to document her struggles to become an Orthodox woman rabbi in Life on the Fringes: A Feminist Journey Toward Traditional Rabbinic Ordination, which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in 2000. In 2006 she earned a PhD in Talmud from Bar Ilan University and was granted private ordination by Rabbi Aryeh Strikovsky, finally achieving her dream of becoming a rabbi. She then became director of Mikveh Shmaya, the Masorti mikveh at the Hannaton Educational Center in the Galilee, where she incorporated feminist innovations and reinterpretations of the role of the ritual bath in Jewish life. In 2014 she published Chana’s Voice: A Rabbi Struggles with Gender, Commitment, and the Women’s Rituals of Baking, Bathing, and Brightening.

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Photo of Rabbi Haviva Ner-David, courtesy of Rabbi Ner-David.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Haviva Ner-David." (Viewed on August 23, 2019) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/ner-david-haviva>.

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