As the first female executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization for Conservative rabbis, Julie Schonfeld has helped shape the Conservative movement’s approach to prayer as well as its response to world politics. Schonfeld graduated from Yale in 1987 and taught playwriting in New York public schools through the New York Shakespeare Festival. After her ordination at the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1997, she became the first female rabbi at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, the synagogue founded by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, who instituted the first bat mitzvah. Schonfeld began working for the Rabbinical Assembly in 2001 as Director of Rabbinic Development, handling issues that ranged from rabbinic mentorship and continuing education to studying the impact of gender on rabbinic career trajectories. In 2009 she became executive vice president of the RA. She oversaw the publication of Mahzor Lev Shalem (2010) and Siddur Lev Shalem (2016), which represented the Conservative movement’s effort to reflect the values of gender equality, diversity, and engagement with tradition in their prayer book. Schonfeld has regularly made Newsweek’s annual list of 50 most influential rabbis in America for her stances on women’s participation in Judaism and her attention to the importance of protecting religious diversity in Israel.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Julie Schonfeld." (Viewed on February 23, 2018) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/schonfeld-julie>.