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Judaism-Reform

Carrie Obendorfer Simon

In an era in which Victorian social conventions limited most women to the private sphere of home and family, Carrie Obendorfer Simon broke important ground for American Jewish women by founding the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods (NFTS) in the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC).

Esther Jane Ruskay

Esther Jane Ruskay was a distinguished and outstanding writer and speaker in the Jewish community before the turn of the century. Her articles on Jewish life appeared in numerous newspapers, and a collection of her writings, Hearth and Home Essays, was published in 1902 by the Jewish Publication Society.

National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods

In 1913, the women of Reform Judaism, who were organized in independent, local synagogue sisterhoods founded in the 1890s and 1900s, united to create a national organization of women dedicated to religion. Reform Jewish women joined the American women of the era who established a host of voluntary associations to further various social and communal agendas.

Lily Montagu

Lilian Helen Montagu was a British social worker, a magistrate in the London juvenile courts, suffragist, writer, religious organizer, and spiritual leader who founded and long remained the driving force behind the Liberal Jewish movement in England.

Therese Loeb Schiff

Among her diverse activities, Therese Loeb Schiff organized a literary series for wealthy German Jewish women, donated ten thousand dollars to the National Council of Jewish Women to help cope with Jewish prostitution among young immigrant women, and lectured for the Consumers League in support of protective legislation to end child labor and the exploitation of women.

Faye Libby Schenk

A committed Zionist, Faye Libby Herz Schenk chose to direct her considerable talents and energies into organizing and strengthening Zionist organizations worldwide. Schenk went on to hold every major portfolio in Hadassah and eventually served as national president from 1968 to 1972.

Reform Judaism in the United States

Leaders of Reform Judaism in the United States have often celebrated their movement’s role in emancipating women from the many restrictions that Judaism has traditionally imposed upon their ability to participate and lead public worship.

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.

Sally Jane Priesand

On June 3, 1972, Sally Jane Priesand became the first female ordained rabbi in America.

Seraphine Eppstein Pisko

Like so many middle-class Jewish women at the turn of the century, Seraphine Eppstein Pisko used her longtime experience in volunteer charitable work and her organizational talents to move into the realm of the professional workplace. In 1911, Pisko was appointed secretary of National Jewish Hospital (NJH) for Consumptives in Denver. She was later appointed executive secretary as well as vice president, and remained in control of day-to-day affairs at the hospital until her retirement twenty-seven years later in 1938.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Judaism-Reform." (Viewed on December 15, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/judaism-reform>.

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