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Judaism-Conservative

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Julie Schonfeld

As the first female executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, the professional organization for Conservative rabbis, Julie Schonfeld has helped shape the Conservative movement’s approach to prayer as well as its response to world politics.

Avis Miller

As someone who came to the rabbinate later in life, Avis Miller has searched for new ways to educate and engage those on the margins of the Jewish community.

Nina Bieber Feinstein

Nina Bieber Feinstein spent years laying the groundwork for women’s ordination before becoming the second woman rabbi ordained by the Conservative Movement.

Susan Grossman

Rabbi Susan Grossman has helped shape the Conservative Movement’s policies on women’s rights and roles in Jewish life through her work as a member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS).

Nina Feinstein

Although she was the second woman ordained by the Conservative Movement, Rabbi Nina Bieber Feinstein helped lay the groundwork for women’s ordination through her own years of study and struggle.

Taking Risks, Making Change: Bat Mitzvah and Other Evolving Traditions

The letters from one girl's campaign to have the first Saturday morning Bat Mitzvah in her congregation in 1974 serve as a case study for exploring how we confront controversial issues and make change in our communities.

B'nai Jacob Synagogue

Come, Join Us

by Hani Fish-Bieler

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. 

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.

Julie Schonfeld

In 2009, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld became the first female leader of an American rabbinical organization, serving as executive vice president of the Conservative movement’s Rabbinical Assembly.

Deborah Marcus Melamed

Deborah Marcus Melamed encouraged Jewish women to form their own relationship with Jewish practice through her 1927 book The Three Pillars, an interpretive guide to rituals and customs.

Fanny Binswanger Hoffman

As the chosen successor of Mathilde Schechter, Fanny Binswanger Hoffman focused the National Women’s League’s efforts on Jewish education for children and greatly expanded the organization’s membership and reach.

Adele Ginzberg

Known as “Mama G.” and “Mrs. Seminary,” Adele Ginzberg helped her husband, Louis Ginzberg, create a warm atmosphere at the Jewish Theological Seminary and helped lay the groundwork for women’s greater inclusion in Conservative Judaism.

Sylvia Ettenberg

Sylvia Cutler Ettenberg shaped generations of Conservative Jews by helping found programs ranging from Ramah camps to the Prozdor Hebrew high school at the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson

Carrie Dreyfuss Davidson became an important voice for women in the Conservative Movement as a founder of United Synagogue’s Women’s League and founding editor of their journal Outlook.

Ruth F. Brin

Ruth F. Brin helped transform modern prayer with her evocative writing, translation, and poetry.

Libbie Suchoff Berkson

Libbie Suchoff Berkson was loved by generations of campers as Aunt Libbie, director of Camp Modin for girls.

Racie Adler

Racie Friedenwald Adler helped shape a number of Jewish institutions, most significantly the Women’s League For Conservative Judaism.

Mathilde Schechter

Mathilde Roth Schechter was both an essential support for her husband’s work as president of the Jewish Theological Seminary and a force in her own right as founder of the Women’s League.

Francine Klagsbrun

From Free to Be … You and Me to Women of the Wall, Francine Klagsbrun pushed to change what possibilities were open for women.

Paula Hyman

Paula Hyman’s work as a historian recovered the stories of Jewish women’s pasts, while her work as a member of Ezrat Nashim helped create new possibilities for their future by pushing the Conservative Movement to ordain women rabbis.

Amy Eilberg

The first woman rabbi ordained by the Conservative Movement, Amy Eilberg forged her own path as a chaplain and pastoral counselor.

Nina Beth Cardin

Part of the first class of women ordained as Conservative rabbis, Nina Beth Cardin embraced the unconventional path of a “community pulpit” by founding healing centers and creating new ways to approach miscarriage and loss.

Judy Wolf

Judy Wolf helped create a resource center for children with disabilities in the city of Dnepropetrovsk that not only transformed the lives of families there but became a model for special education throughout the Ukraine.

Francine Klagsbrun

As the commission delved into the issue, testimony it received from scholars showed that no Jewish legal barriers stood in the way of ordaining women.

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