Judaism-Reform

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Women with arms around each other, backs turned

Jewish Feminists, History, and the HUC Report

JWA Staff

JWA responds to the recent report on the investigation into sexual misconduct at HUC. 

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.

Angela Buchdahl

Angela Warnick Buchdahl is the first Asian American to be ordained as a rabbi and cantor. She is the senior rabbi of Central Synagogue in New York and is a major leader in American Judaism’s continued work on diversity, equity, inclusion, and innovation.

Painting with the outline of a human figure. Grey background with overlapping square shapes. One contains another small outlined face that faces the outlined figure.

A Trip to Crown Heights

Belle Gage

I was visiting Brooklyn, New York with a group of students in my Reform synagogue’s confirmation class. 

Camp counselor surrounded by campers, all wearing white. Sitting on benches during services.

In the Image of God?

Mica Maltzman

When I was younger, around the time of my consecration, my vision of God was simple.

Elyse Goldstein

As one of the first women rabbis in Canada, Elyse Goldstein has broken down barriers by founding inclusive communities for learning and prayer.

Ellen Dreyfus

As one of the first women rabbis (and the first to be ordained while pregnant), Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus helped create a model for work-life balance for both women and men in the rabbinate.

Elaine Zecher

Rabbi Elaine Zecher uses her own experiences of illness and struggle to counsel congregants and craft prayers for Mishkan T’fillah and Mishkan HaNefesh, the prayer books of the Reform Movement.

Ellen Dreyfus

As one of the very first women to be ordained, Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus helped shape policy for rabbis throughout the Reform movement.
NFTY STR Spring Kallah 2016

Leading a Sea of Voices

Hannah Himmelgreen

I never realized that it was possible for my whole outlook on Judaism to be transformed in an hour and a half, or that a few moments of hearing voices come together in prayer could move me so deeply. But that’s exactly what happened when I led my youth group in Shabbat services this past March. 

Ray Frank's Yom Kippur Sermon, 1890

Read the 1890 Yom Kippur sermon by Ray Frank, the first Jewish woman to preach formally from a pulpit, and consider what unites and divides the Jewish people both historically and today.

Miri Gold

In a landmark case in 2012, Miri Gold became the first non-Orthodox rabbi to have her salary paid by the Israeli government.

Kinneret Shiryon

The first female congregational rabbi to serve in Israel, Kinneret Shiryon went on to establish Kehillat Yozma, the first non-Orthodox congregation to receive funding from the state.

Jane Evans

Although she never became a rabbi, Jane Evans, Executive Director of the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, became a powerful voice for women’s ordination within the Reform Movement.

Death of writer Amy K. Blank

September 17, 1990

Amy Blank's poetry expressed the gentleness, insight, and devotion for which she was known.

Ruth Weisberg

Ruth Weisberg’s art helped bring the Reform Movement’s Open Door Haggadah to life with inclusive, feminist imagery.

Sue Levi Elwell

Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell dedicated her career to creating opportunities for Jewish women to learn and take ownership of Jewish rituals.

Rachel Cowan

As one of the founders of the Jewish healing movement, Rachel Cowan blended modern holistic medicine and counseling with traditional Jewish rituals and prayers to help change how people responded to illness.

Carolyn Blumenthal Danz

A Seattle native of Ashkenazic-German descent, Carolyn Danz grew up in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. She was a lifelong member of Temple De Hirsch Sinai, the oldest Reform Congregation in the Pacific Northwest. Carolyn graduated in 1939 from the University of Washington with a BA in Fine Arts, married Jerry Taylor in 1940, and had two children. Jerry, diagnosed with MS early in their marriage, died in 1959. Carolyn supported her family by opening and running a dressmaking business. A skilled seamstress, she and her talented African American assistant, Maude, made beautiful clothing.

Naomi Adler is named as first female CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

February 3, 2014

“You have to take risks with vision in mind,” says Naomi Adler, first female CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Neshama Carlebach

Where She's Coming From

Lisa Batya Feld

I’m bracing myself for the inevitable storm of essays about Neshama Carlebach’s choice and what it says about Orthodoxy. It’s easy to read her decision to “make aliyah” to Reform Judaism as a triumph of the liberal values and inclusivity of the Reform Movement over the ingrained sexism of Orthodoxy. But the truth is that both movements are struggling with how to include women and a wider range of voices.

Sally Priesand

When I decided to study for the rabbinate, I never thought much about being a pioneer, nor was it my intention to champion the rights of women. I just wanted to be a rabbi.

Sue Levi Elwell

Annette returned home that night with her mind ablaze and her heart pounding with excitement. A new Jewish door was opening for her.

Nina Beth Cardin

In the early years of women entering the rabbinate, many women felt were welcomed to rabbinical school on the expectation that we would act like men.

Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl

More Than Just The Celebration of One Woman: Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl

Judith Rosenbaum

Usually, I’m a bit of a skeptic about the transformative power of women’s leadership. I don’t believe a woman in a position of power will necessarily create meaningful social change. I’m a little weary of celebrating “firsts” for women. I’m impatient and demanding and all the things feminists need to be if we’re going to change the world for more than an elite few. 

And then there are moments when I feel the momentum rumbling beneath my feet and cynicism is nowhere to be found. Today I had one of those moments when I heard that Rabbi Cantor Angela Warnick Buchdahl has been chosen as the next Senior Rabbi at Central Synagogue, a prominent and powerful Reform congregation in New York City.

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