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Religious Movements

Come, Join Us

I remember my excitement upon hearing about Yeshivat Maharat’s  ordination of women. As a supporter of female Jewish leadership in all of its forms, I was thrilled at the idea. Evidently, Jessica Cavanagh-Melhado, a contributor to JWA’s blog, felt the same way. In June 2013, she wrote a piece entitled, We Begin to Become a Multitude. In the piece, she describes her experience attending the first ever ordination of women as open Orthodox female spiritual leaders. 

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.

Naamah Kelman

The first woman rabbi to be ordained in Israel, Naamah Kelman has helped cultivate future rabbis as the first female dean of Hebrew Union College’s Jerusalem campus.

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.

Naomi Levy

After suffering tragedies in her own life, Naomi Levy used her skills as a rabbi and writer to give others the tools to move on.

Gesa Ederberg

The first woman rabbi to serve in Berlin since Regina Jonas, Gesa Ederberg has played an essential role in restoring Jewish life in Germany.

Sara Hurwitz

Upon becoming the first Modern Orthodox woman rabbi ordained in the United States, Sara Hurwitz took on the title “Rabba.”

Orthodox Feminism

A lot of people leave Orthodoxy because of the sexism. Honestly, it’s really hard to stay. Being a teenager with friends who are all forming their identities, I struggle with this a lot. Many of my friends are leaving the movement because they are tired of tirelessly fighting, enduring, and never being equal. 

Holy Glass Ceiling

On June 13th, 2013, three women graduated from the Yeshivat Maharat and were ordained with the title of maharat, or female spiritual leader. Even then, the Rabbinic Counsel of America (RCA) refused to recognize these women as part of the Orthodox Rabbinate. This is a two steps forward, one step back situation. 

Pop(e)ular

Religious leaders aren’t normally considered cool by teenagers, but Pope Francis is most definitely an exception. As a teenager myself, I can say that the Catholic Church was not at all on my radar until he started making waves. 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Religious Movements." (Viewed on December 5, 2016) <https://jwa.org/topics/religious-movements>.

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