Julie Schwartz’s decision to become the first woman rabbi to serve as an active duty chaplain in the US Military broadened women’s roles in Jewish and civic leadership. Schwartz met and married fellow rabbinical student Steve Ballaban while studying at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, and the pair chose to go into military chaplaincy together after their ordination in 1986. While Ballaban’s decision was uncontroversial, Schwartz worked with the leadership of both HUC–JIR and the Reform movement to get permission to serve. Her case caused a rift in the interdenominational commission that approved rabbis as military chaplains, but it established the movement’s right to endorse its own candidates regardless of other movements’ policies on gender. After serving as a chaplain at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California for three years, Schwartz returned to HUC–JIR, where she served as national director of continuing rabbinic education and founded HUC–JIR’s clinical pastoral education program, the first of its kind at a rabbinical seminary. From 2001–2011 she served as rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Atlanta, Georgia, then rejoined the faculty of HUC–JIR as a professor and supervisor of the clinical pastoral education program.
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Julie Schwartz." (Viewed on May 20, 2018) <https://jwa.org/rabbis/narrators/schwartz-julie>.