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Rabbis

The First Woman Rabbi: Uncovering the Story of Regina Jonas

Join JWA Rabbinic Intern Sarah Mulhern as she leads participants in a discussion about the little-known story of Regina Jonas: the first woman rabbi, and a Holocaust victim. Learn about the variety of materials and resources that JWA has to offer on this influential figure, and think more broadly about which stories we tell and which we do not, why this is, and what impacts this has on us and our communities.

Success is a Loaded Word

In the rabbinate, success is a loaded word. As Sally Priesand describes in her video interview, a generation ago everyone could describe a successful rabbi. He would be the senior rabbi of a large synagogue in a large city, and he would have a long-term contract. Ideally the synagogue would be growing. That was success.

Reimagining ‘Rebbetzin’: On Being a Feminist Rabbinic Partner

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not feminist enough.

I clean the house, and I bake challah, and I complain to my spouse about coming home too late in the evenings. I’m a great rebbetzin––but isn’t a rebbetzin a bizarre and archaic role that enables the patriarchy?

Discovering a Feminine Rabbinic Look

In her video reflecting on how women rabbis have changed the rabbinate for men, Rabbi Jacqueline Koch Ellenson highlights the tension that many rabbis have felt between their personal role (partner, parent, friend, someone with hobbies, etc.) with their professional role (visiting the sick, leading services, attending board meetings, etc.).

The One Personal Question You SHOULD Ask a Rabbinical Candidate in an Interview

If you want to ask your (future) rabbi a personal question, it should be: “How can we best support you?”

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post comparing rabbinical placement to dating. It was meant to be lighthearted advice for my colleagues as they searched for “the one”: a congregation that would nurture and challenge them during the next phase of their career. Now, as some of my new colleagues enter the job market for the first time, I have some advice for the search committees.

Lila Kagedan

The first Orthodox woman to claim the title of Rabbi, Lila Kagedan has worked to make Jewish learning accessible to all.

Susan Harris

As hospital chaplain, Rabbi Susan Harris has worked to make Boston Children’s Hospital more sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ patients and families.

My Jewish Feminist Roots and The Fruit of My Mother’s Labor

My mother struggled her whole life to bring her love of Judaism and her expectation of gender equality together. I was raised on the foundation that she had worked tirelessly to build. 

The Sacred Calling: Reimagining Role Models

My rabbinical association recently asked me to join their mentoring program. This request felt surreal to me. Eight years after ordination is practically nothing in terms of rabbinical experience, and, at 34, I’m still younger than some new ordinees. For much of my career, I’ve been told that I couldn’t possibly have enough “life experience” to be a rabbi myself. What could I possibly teach a colleague?

"We Who Are Her Successors": Honoring Rabbi Regina Jonas

by Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Our knowledge about Rabbi Regina Jonas has been limited. I had heard that she was ordained in Berlin, her thesis was on whether women could be rabbis, and that she had died during the Holocaust. I was intrigued, but there was not much more information to fill in the blank spaces. This trip has opened up a wealth of material about her life, her vision and her contributions.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on April 24, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/rabbis>.

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