Jewfem Blog

The Rabba Revolution Continues

Rabba Sara HurwitzRabba Sara Hurwitz was the first publicly ordained female rabbi in the Orthodox community. Three years ago this month, Rabba Sara Hurwitz made history in the Jewish world by becoming the first publicly ordained female rabbi in the Orthodox community. Since then, the 35-year-old mother of three has been working as Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, an institution dedicated to training women Orthodox clergy, as well as working as Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. The first three women are set to graduate this June with the title of Maharat — an acronym for “Religious, spiritual, Torah leaders” — marking yet another important milestone for women in Orthodoxy. Rabba Hurwitz spoke to The Sisterhood to explain what this all means. THE SISTERHOOD: What has changed for you over the past three years? RABBA SARA HURWITZ: The biggest change is the flourishing of Yeshivat Maharat, and the continuation of Orthodox women serving in communities. The graduation of the first three students this coming June fills me a tremendous amount of excitement and gratification. I have students currently working in synagogues, one in a school, one in a JCC and one in a Hillel. That’s real movement. What kind of feedback have you received from the Orthodox community? I think there has been noticeable change since I received my title. I’ve been doing a fair amount of traveling around the country and I think Orthodox communities are much more open to seeing women as spiritual leaders. In fact they are beginning to want it, to request it, which I think is a real shift. Part of the ability of women to lead relies on rabbis who have the courage to hire women as interns and graduates. I’ve been seeing a shift in the number of rabbis who recognize the importance of having women and who are eager to have women. I’m really grateful for these rabbis who are helping women carve out positions as leaders in the community. Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/170276/the-rabba-revolution-continues/#ixzz2LCIC4M5O

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Saying goodbye to Joanna Samuels

The event was a tremendous gathering of Jewish feminists. The fifty people in the room — almost all women — came from organizations representing many aspects of Jewish life: Reform rabbis, a dean at the Jewish Theological Seminar, Orthodox clergy and senior professionals from a range of Jewish women’s organizations. We were all there because Joanna and AWP had touched us in some way. Remember her commitment to pledging men as allies in promoting women’s leadership? Her guidance in teaching women how to “ask”? Her efforts at promoting women’s advancement in Jewish organizations? A tribute to Joanna as well as the diverse and wide reach of AWP, the good-bye party became a celebration of the minds and spirits of Jewish women, especially those who spend their lives making a difference in the Jewish community through not-for-profit work. Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/160624/goodbye-and-good-luck-to-joanna-samuels/#ixzz22sHSUyJn

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