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The Sisterhood 50: America's Influential Women Rabbis

Finding My Way Back to Rachel Adler

Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr

In fact, for most of my life, I rejected the notion that I was a feminist. I was a self-decribed equalist. I did not want to be associated with anything resembling the bra-burning, Lilith-reading farbrente feminists I had learned about in school.

Topics: Rabbis

Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler has always challenged her religion from within, from her early days as a pioneer of the Jewish feminist movement to her later ordination as a rabbi.

Rachel Adler

As a theologian, a committed Jew, and a pioneer of the Jewish feminist movement, Rachel Adler challenged her religion from within.

Rachel Adler

The size and diversity of the gathering were strong evidence that we were not just disaffected individuals. We were a movement.

Rachel Adler receives National Jewish Book Award

March 11, 1999

Rachel Adler was awarded the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought on March 11, 1999.

Spirituality in the United States

Spirituality can be defined as life lived in the presence of God. It embraces not only traditional and formal modes of religious expression, but also more informal individual and communal efforts to remain mindful of the sacred in all aspects of experience.

Mikveh

The mikveh is a ritual bath prescribed by ancient Jewish law for the rite of purification. It had particular significance for Jewish women, who were required to immerse themselves in the mikveh following their menstrual periods or after childbirth in order to become ritually pure and permitted to resume sexual activity. The practice has been jettisoned by many Jews but continues to be observed today, not only in Orthodox communities but also by feminists, queer Jews, and others who have reinterpreted the ritual.

Ritual: A Feminist Approach

Because religious praxis involving material objects plays so major a role in Jewish religion, one of the most significant expressions of the creation of feminist Judaism and its influence on the Jewish people is women’s wide-ranging involvement in the full range of ceremonies that exist both within and beyond halakhah.

Jewish Feminism in the United States

Challenging all varieties of American Judaism, feminism has been a powerful force for popular Jewish religious revival. Of America’s four Jewish denominations, all but the Orthodox have accepted women as rabbis and cantors.

Gender Identity In Halakhic Discourse

Jewish law is based on a fundamental assumption of gender duality.

Feminist Theology

Jewish feminist theology focuses on central Jewish categories, themes, and modes of expression—for example, God, prayer, Torah she-bi-khetav: Lit. "the written Torah." The Bible; the Pentateuch; Tanakh (the Pentateuch, Prophets and Hagiographia)Torah, and halakhah—and asks who created them and whose interests they reflect. It raises meta-questions about Jewish tradition.

Female Purity (Niddah) Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliography of books about female purity (niddah).

Conservative Judaism in the United States

Women have played a pivotal role in propelling the Conservative Movement to confront essential issues including Jewish education and gender equality. The Movement’s attention to issues such as the religious education of Jewish girls, the status of the agunah (deserted wife), equal participation of women in ritual, the ordination of women, and innovations in liturgy and ritual to speak to women’s experiences has helped to shape the self-definition of Conservative Judaism, and has enabled talented Jewish women to reach new heights in religious leadership.

Rachel Adler

Rachel Adler is unquestionably among the leading constructive Jewish theologians, translators, and liturgists of the modern era. One of the first theologians and ethicists to integrate feminist perspectives and concerns into the interpretation of Jewish texts and the renewal of Jewish law and ethics, Adler is the award-winning author of Engendering Judaism.

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