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Ruth BalinskyFriedman

One of the first graduates of Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox seminary to ordain women, Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman is crafting a new model of religious leadership for Orthodox women and girls. The daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, Friedman studied psychology and Jewish studies at Barnard, and after her graduation in 2007 felt drawn to continue her Jewish education. She attended Drisha, an intensive Jewish text study program for women, before applying to the newly established Yeshivat Maharat in 2009. In 2013 Friedman was part of the first cohort to graduate from the new institution. She began working for Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue in Washington, DC, where she continues to work as of 2017 and where her responsibilities include overseeing conversions, leading adult education programs, and pastoral counseling. She has also written articles on religious issues for The Washington Post, The Jewish Standard, and other journals. She is a founding member of the Beltway VAAD, which oversees conversion, kashrut, and other religious guidelines for the Orthodox community, and is part of the executive committee of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, an Orthodox community that fosters discussion of both halakhah and secular policy.

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Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman, photo courtesy of Maharat Friedman.

Date of Birth

Evanston, IL
United States

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Ruth Balinsky Friedman." (Viewed on December 6, 2019) <>.


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