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Rabbis

Writing Forever Letters with Rabbi Elana Zaiman

Elana Zaiman was the first woman rabbi in a family chain of rabbis spanning six generations. Growing up in a traditional Conservative synagogue where women were not allowed to read from the Torah, Rabbi Zaiman’s decision to become a rabbi and forward a new iteration of her family’s legacy made her a pioneer in her family history.

A Dance on the Bimah

I sensed some apprehension in the sanctuary as we settled into our seats for Rosh Hashanah services. The congregation was experiencing a first: a woman was leading the clergy for the first time in congregational history. Joining her on the bimah was our second rabbi, also a woman. I knew there were some in the congregation who wondered what it would be like to begin this new year without male leadership at the top.

Elaine Zecher

Rabbi Elaine Zecher’s own experiences as a breast cancer survivor have shaped both her career as a congregational rabbi and her work in helping create new rituals to honor both illness and healing.

Shira Stutman

Shira Stutman’s belief in the importance of “radical welcoming” informs everything about the way she cultivates community as senior rabbi of Washington DC’s Sixth & I Historic Synagogue.

Mychal Springer

Mychal Springer created the Center for Pastoral Education to enable hospital chaplains of all backgrounds to learn from Jewish models for visiting the sick while incorporating the wisdom of other pastoral traditions.

Tanya Segal

As the first full-time female rabbi in Poland, Tanya Segal has creatively transformed Jewish life in the historic city of Krakow, the site of previous revolutions in Jewish thought and practice.

Julie Schwartz

Julie Schwartz’s decision to become the first woman rabbi to serve as an active duty chaplain in the US Military broadened women’s roles in Jewish and civic leadership.

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.

Elizabeth Tikvah Sarah

As both one of the first women and one of the first openly gay rabbis to be ordained in Britain, Elli Tikvah Sarah has shattered assumptions about what it means to be part of—and to lead—the Jewish community.

Haviva Ner-David

Haviva Ner-David’s 2006 ordination made her one of the first Orthodox women to claim the title of “Rabbi,” part of her lifelong work to enable Jewish women—and Jews in general—to reexamine and reengage with the tradition.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Rabbis." (Viewed on November 20, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/rabbis>.

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