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Religion

Shabbat is a Two-Person Job

As an assistant rabbi, I'd found a rhythm: simple Friday night meals with friends; long, lazy Saturday afternoons to myself. Someday, I hoped to be partnered, and develop a new system, similar to my senior rabbi and his wife.

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.

Maid of Ludomir

Hannah Rachel Verbermacher, one of the early precursors of women rabbis, was known as the Maid of Ludomir and was alternately revered for her wisdom and reviled for taking on a traditionally male role.

Rochel Berman

Resisting taboos around discussing death, Rochel Udovich Berman has worked to educate people on Jewish funerary practices and encourage them to participate in the mitzvah of caring for the dead.

Mary Gendler

Mary Loeb Gendler has helped shape social justice movements in indirect but effective ways, from crafting new rituals for Jewish feminists to helping Tibetan exiles leverage the tools of nonviolent protest.

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.).

Jewish-American Witches

Despite my positive feelings about them, I was disappointed that Tina and Queenie didn’t acknowledge their Jewishness, that the movie left this part of their identity ambiguous. Sometimes it’s fun as a Jewish viewer to get winks that fictional characters may be members of the tribe. The hints of Judaism in Fantastic Beasts, like Tina’s middle name being Esther and a glimpse of a challah, made me smile. But since having two Jewish women starring in such a global, mainstream fantasy film would be monumental, I wished that Tina and Queenie had claimed their heritage proudly like I do.

Facts Sometimes Have Feelings

“Torah Judaism does not support abortion, Torah Judaism does not support same-sex marriage,” right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro explained with a confident smirk to a cheering audience of Yeshiva University students. I expect it’s a lot easier to blindly subscribe to one binary view on what is seen as one of the most enigmatic documents in existence, rather than to actively engage with this foundational text, and question its claims. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Religion." (Viewed on April 25, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/religion>.

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