After 40 Years of Women Rabbis, a Q&A with the First

Inside Leadership

After 40 Years of Women Rabbis, a Q&A with the First

Sally Priesand was a 16-year-old Cleveland girl in 1963 when she wrote to the Reform Jewish movement’s flagship seminary and said she wanted to be a rabbi.

Hebrew Union College accepted her as the only woman in a class of 36, and in June 1972, Priesand became the first woman in history to be ordained by a rabbinic school. Today, all but Judaism’s Orthodox movement accept women rabbis, and non-Orthodox rabbinic schools typically enroll about as many women as men.

To mark more than 40 years of women in the rabbinate, the Central Conference of American Rabbis recently published “The Sacred Calling,” a collection of essays by women rabbis that cover everything from Priesand’s ordination to the depiction of female rabbis on television.

RNS asked Priesand, now 70 and retired for a decade, to talk about her ordination, her 25 years as the rabbi at New Jersey’s Monmouth Reform Temple and why she insisted on wearing miniskirts.

Read the interview from Religion News Service.

Have something to say about this post? Join the conversation in The Tent, the social network for congregational leaders of the Reform Movement. You can also tweet us or tell us how you feel on Facebook.
What's New
Target with arrows in many places, but not in the center
Jun 18, 2019|Rabbi David Fine and Rabbi Esther Lederman
Orange sign held into the air reading DO NOT STAND IDLY BY
Jun 10, 2019|Logan Zinman & Sammi Goldsmith

Find More in The Tent

Learn more about this exciting new platform, where Reform congregational leaders connect with colleagues and peers who have similar concerns, interests and responsibilities.