Kinneret Shiryon

Rabbi Kinneret Shiryon in 2015. Photo courtesy of Kinneret Shiryon.

The first woman rabbi in Israel, Kinneret Shiryon has helped introduce Israelis to the possibilities of liberal Judaism and significantly advanced religious equality in Israel when her synagogue, Kehillat Yozma, became the first non-Orthodox congregation to receive funding from the state. Born Sandra Levine, Shiryon was ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in 1981 and moved to Israel in 1983, becoming the first female congregational rabbi to serve in Israel. In 1997 she joined a small group to found Kehillat Yozma in Modi’in, a new city between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. After a decade-long court case, the Israeli Supreme Court finally ruled that Kehillat Yozma should receive the same funding as the local Orthodox communities for constructing a permanent synagogue. As of 2016, Shiryon continues to serve as rabbi for Kehillat Yozma, focusing on education, social justice partnerships, and outreach efforts to economically struggling families. The synagogue also boasts the first Reform day school to receive state funding from the Israeli government. Shiryon was the first woman to chair the Council of Progressive Rabbis in Israel (MARAM), and continues to be an outspoken advocate for Reform Judaism in Israel.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Kinneret Shiryon." (Viewed on May 19, 2024) <>.