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Remembering Rabbi Regina Jonas

by Rabbi Sally J. Priesand

I decided I wanted to be a rabbi when I was sixteen years old. At that time, I had never heard of Regina Jonas. I was well into my rabbinic training before one of my professors mentioned her to me. He knew her personally, having attended the same academic institution in Germany. I discovered, however, that very little had been written about her and that basically her story had been lost, as was the case for so many other women in the Jewish community whose stories were hidden away.

Connecting Across the Divide

by Gail Reimer

The pioneering American women rabbis who were the first to be ordained by their denominations joined with their counterparts in Europe in a public forum to talk about their journeys to the rabbinate and experiences as rabbis. Or that was the plan.

Before the Plane Trip, A Personal Journey

by Judith Kates

For many years, I resisted going to Germany or Eastern Europe, but when I learned about this trip to Berlin and Prague, I spoke without thinking: “I’d really like to go on that journey.”

Short Film: In the Footsteps of Regina Jonas

Who was the first woman rabbi and why don’t we know about her? Watch the documentary short film about the journey of women rabbis to discover their foremother, 70 years after her death.

Regina Jonas / Alina Treiger

German Rabbis

Leading the German-Jewish Community

International Holocaust Remembrance Day

January 27, 2015

JWA features many stories of the Holocaust era, those who were lost, those who survived, and those who aided people in peril. 

Regina Jonas

Regina Jonas made history as the first woman rabbi after writing a thesis arguing for the halakhic permissibility of women’s ordination.

Rabbis in the United States

Jewish women’s recent entrance to the brotherhood of the rabbinate masks a lengthy history of the question of women’s ordination.

Regina Jonas

Regina Jonas, the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi, was killed in Auschwitz in October 1944. From 1942–1944 she performed rabbinical functions in Theresienstadt. She would probably have been completely forgotten, had she not left traces both in Theresienstadt and in her native city, Berlin.

Jewish Feminism in Post-Holocaust Germany

Jewish feminism in Germany today is an expression of a wide-reaching renewal of Judaism that has been going on in many European countries since the early 1990s. That women have their own movement within this development became evident at the first conference of Bet Debora in Berlin.

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