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Synagogues/Temples

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht

November 10, 1938

Ruth Nussbaum preserves a Torah on Kristallnacht.

“I struggle.”

Growing up, my discomfort derived from the separate-but-equal mentality I found inherent within a mechitza service. Sometimes, the mechitza is a balcony (women in the back, men in the front). Sometimes, the Torah and the service-leader are only on the men’s side. Even in the more forward-thinking mechitza services that I’ve attended, there are still areas in which women may not lead. As an outspoken queer feminist, mechitzas make me uncomfortable... to say the least.

Margaret Fleet, 1919 - 2013

When Margaret Fishler Fleet graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy of Music in Fernandina Beach, FL many years ago, her beloved piano teacher, Sister Nola, gave Margaret the nun’s only worldly possession, a lace handkerchief as a present. So profound was Margaret’s love of music that she made sure each of her four daughters and her granddaughters carried the handkerchief during their own weddings. A week before she died, she mustered the energy to perform a final piano recital for her family.

Jewish Identity: A Round-Trip Journey

A life-long discomfort with institutionalized Judaism is hard to shed once you reach the mid-life years. Sure, it’s great to keep an open mind, but there’s also the sense of not wanting to waste time on pursuits unlikely to enrich one’s life. Some of us narrow our options as we get older in a bargain to reduce the odds of having regrets.

Sharing stories, inspiring change

Last week, Rabbi Scott Perlo wrote a provocative article in the Washington Post in which he addressed the continuing discomfort that many Jews—even liberal, gender-equity-supporting ones—feel about female rabbis. He suggests that this puzzling phenomenon may be due to the central place nostalgia holds in many people’s feelings about Judaism. It comes as no surprise that this nostalgic vision does not include female rabbis.

Beatrice L. Garber, 1912 - 1999

Beatrice Lillian Schwalb was born on March 10, 1912, the daughter of European immigrants, Eli and Celia, in Union, South Carolina. At the age of two, Bea contracted polio. To get better medical care, when Bea was three her parents moved back to Massachusetts. They settled in Lynn and Bea fully recovered.

Julie Rosewald becomes the first woman to lead services in an American synagogue

September 20, 1884

Julie Rosewald became the first woman known to have led services at an American synagogue when she led the music, chanted portions of the worship normally reserved for a cantor, and directed the choir at San Francisco's Temple Emanu-El following the death of the congregation's cantor.

Julie Rosewald: America's first woman cantor

She wrote a book. She was an actress. She sang opera. She became a professor. She toured the world by herself. She paid her own way. She was a musical superstar.

When synagogues downsize, women rabbis are the first to go

Rabbi Charni Flame Selch lost her job when her synagogue, Bnai Emet Synagogue in St. Louis Park, MN, merged with a nearby Minnetonka congregation. A recent article in the Star Tribune suggests that the economic recession is making the road even harder for female rabbis.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Synagogues/Temples." (Viewed on May 26, 2018) <https://jwa.org/topics/synagoguestemples>.

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