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Women Rabbis

A Dance on the Bimah

I sensed some apprehension in the sanctuary as we settled into our seats for Rosh Hashanah services. The congregation was experiencing a first: a woman was leading the clergy for the first time in congregational history. Joining her on the bimah was our second rabbi, also a woman. I knew there were some in the congregation who wondered what it would be like to begin this new year without male leadership at the top.

Shabbat is a Two-Person Job

As an assistant rabbi, I'd found a rhythm: simple Friday night meals with friends; long, lazy Saturday afternoons to myself. Someday, I hoped to be partnered, and develop a new system, similar to my senior rabbi and his wife.

Success is a Loaded Word

In the rabbinate, success is a loaded word. As Sally Priesand describes in her video interview, a generation ago everyone could describe a successful rabbi. He would be the senior rabbi of a large synagogue in a large city, and he would have a long-term contract. Ideally the synagogue would be growing. That was success.

Reimagining ‘Rebbetzin’: On Being a Feminist Rabbinic Partner

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not feminist enough.

I clean the house, and I bake challah, and I complain to my spouse about coming home too late in the evenings. I’m a great rebbetzin––but isn’t a rebbetzin a bizarre and archaic role that enables the patriarchy?

Discovering a Feminine Rabbinic Look

In her video reflecting on how women rabbis have changed the rabbinate for men, Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson highlights the tension that many rabbis have felt between their personal role (partner, parent, friend, someone with hobbies, etc.) with their professional role (visiting the sick, leading services, attending board meetings, etc.).

Purim Poem: Mishloach Manot

On my neighbor’s doorstep
I left a brown paper bag.
In it, I put two hamentaschen,
a clementine,
some chocolate pretzels,
and a small box of raisins.
To increase peace, love, and
friendship in the world,
obviously.
And then I walked away
feeling lighter,
unburdened,
the weight of endless obligation
lifted
for a moment.

The One Personal Question You SHOULD Ask a Rabbinical Candidate in an Interview

If you want to ask your (future) rabbi a personal question, it should be: “How can we best support you?”

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post comparing rabbinical placement to dating. It was meant to be lighthearted advice for my colleagues as they searched for “the one”: a congregation that would nurture and challenge them during the next phase of their career. Now, as some of my new colleagues enter the job market for the first time, I have some advice for the search committees.

My Jewish Feminist Roots and The Fruit of My Mother’s Labor

My mother struggled her whole life to bring her love of Judaism and her expectation of gender equality together. I was raised on the foundation that she had worked tirelessly to build. 

Growing Up in a Feminist Jewish Community

At my conservative temple, Temple Emanuel, two out of our three rabbis are women. This is the biggest conservative temple in New England, and it is thrilling to me when thousands of people pour in for the High Holidays to watch women lead services. I know that some synagogues aren’t as accepting of women taking on leadership roles, and I find it inspiring that my temple is so encouraging and supportive.

The First Woman Rabbi: Uncovering the Story of Regina Jonas

Join JWA Rabbinic Intern Sarah Mulhern as she leads participants in a discussion about the little-known story of Regina Jonas: the first woman rabbi, and a Holocaust victim. Learn about the variety of materials and resources that JWA has to offer on this influential figure, and think more broadly about which stories we tell and which we do not, why this is, and what impacts this has on us and our communities.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women Rabbis." (Viewed on October 17, 2017) <https://jwa.org/tags/women-rabbis>.

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