Judaism-Conservative

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Agunot

Agunot are women who are unable to obtain a rabbinic divorce because their husbands or husbands’ male next of kin are unable to give one, leaving them chained in marital captivity. Although many efforts have been made to address these problems, for those most part agunot in halakhically observant communities continue to face deep-seated challenges.

Sally Gottesman

Sally Gottesman, born 1962 in New Jersey and residing in New York, is a non-profit entrepreneur whose leadership and philanthropy have had a major impact on the Jewish feminist and justice landscape.

Martha Ackelsberg

Martha Ackelsberg is a Jewish feminist lesbian anarchist activist, community leader, and academic. She is a leading scholar of anarchism and of anarchist women’s organizations of the Spanish Civil War. A founder and/or early leading visionary in pivotal United States Jewish developments, Ackelsberg has been a key voice shaping feminist, lesbian, and havurah contributions to twentieth- and twenty-first century Jewish life.

Pro-Choice Demonstrators Outside the Supreme Court in 1989, Washington DC

How Blu Greenberg Helped Me Form My Views on Abortion as a Conservative Jewish Woman

Dodie Altman-Sagan

I identified with Blu Greenberg’s stance, as I read it: even if I wouldn’t have an abortion myself, it’s still a valid decision for other women to make.

Nina Bieber Feinstein

Nina Bieber Feinstein spent years laying the groundwork for women’s ordination before becoming the second woman rabbi ordained by the Conservative Movement.

Avis Miller

As someone who came to the rabbinate later in life, Avis Miller has searched for new ways to educate and engage those on the margins of the Jewish community.

Julie Schonfeld

As the first female executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization for Conservative rabbis, Julie Schonfeld has helped shape the Conservative movement’s approach to prayer as well as its response to world politics.

Susan Grossman

Rabbi Susan Grossman has helped shape the Conservative Movement’s policies on women’s rights and roles in Jewish life through her work as a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS).

Nina Feinstein

Although she was the second woman ordained by the Conservative Movement, Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein helped lay the groundwork for women’s ordination through her own years of study and struggle.

Taking Risks, Making Change: Bat Mitzvah and Other Evolving Traditions

The letters from one girl's campaign to have the first Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah in her congregation in 1974 serve as a case study for exploring how we confront controversial issues and make change in our communities.

B'nai Jacob Synagogue

Come, Join Us

Hani Fish-Bieler

I remember my excitement upon hearing about Yeshivat Maharat’s  ordination of women. As a supporter of female Jewish leadership in all of its forms, I was thrilled at the idea. Evidently, Jessica Cavanagh-Melhado, a contributor to JWA’s blog, felt the same way. In June 2013, she wrote a piece entitled, We Begin to Become a Multitude. In the piece, she describes her experience attending the first ever ordination of women as open Orthodox female spiritual leaders. 

Naomi Levy

After suffering tragedies in her own life, Naomi Levy used her skills as a rabbi and writer to give others the tools to move on.

Gesa Ederberg

The first woman rabbi to serve in Berlin since Regina Jonas, Gesa Ederberg has played an essential role in restoring Jewish life in Germany.

Julie Schonfeld

In 2009, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld became the first female leader of an American rabbinical organization, serving as executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly.

Nina Beth Cardin

Part of the first class of women ordained as Conservative rabbis, Nina Beth Cardin embraced the unconventional path of a “community pulpit” by founding healing centers and creating new ways to approach miscarriage and loss.

Judy Wolf

Judy Wolf helped create a resource center for children with disabilities in the city of Dnepropetrovsk that not only transformed the lives of families there but became a model for special education throughout the Ukraine.

Francine Klagsbrun

As the commission delved into the issue, testimony it received from scholars showed that no Jewish legal barriers stood in the way of ordaining women.

Paula Hyman

Within several months we determined that if any Jewish issue required political action, it was this one, the status of women.

Sally Gottesman

Like my mother and her father, my grandfather, I was both a committed Jew and a feminist.

Amy Eilberg

As it turned out, in the spring of 1985, I was to be the first woman so ordained.

Tamara Cohen

We knew that Jewish feminism needed to be suffused through all of Jewish practice so that it would be impossible to ignore.

Rebecca Lubetkin Celebrating her 60th Bat Mitzvah Anniversary

Rebecca Lubetkin's 60th Bat Mitz-versary

Deborah Fineblum Raub

“It’s funny how practices that seem way out in one generation become so commonplace in another that people wonder what took so long.

Bernice W. Kliman, 1933 - 2011

She found that her feminism conflicted with the synagogue practice of denying women a place on the bimah. Only later did she [find] a sympathetic rabbi and a group of congregants who also believed in women’s equality.

Paula Hyman, 1946 - 2011

We should hear her when we need courage to oppose sexism, whether political, historical, or unconscious; when we strive to balance family commitments with demands of career; and when we seek to follow in her footsteps to chart new paths in making and writing Jewish history.

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