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Special to the JTA Survey on the Number of Women Studying for the Reconstructionist and the Reform R

A slightly larger number of women then men are studying this academic year for the Reconstructionist rabbinate and nearly twice as many men as women are studying for the Reform rabbinate, according to a survey by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The patterns repeat those of the 1981-82 academic year when 19 women and 18 men were studying for the rabbinate at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) and a total of 120 men and 69 women were studying for the rabbinate at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR).

The RCC, at Wyncote, Pa., has 22 women and 20 men studying for the rabbinate this academic year, while the HUC-JIR has 126 men and 70 women studying for the rabbinate.

Twelve women will be ordained in May and June as Reform rabbis. Two women will be ordained as Reconstructionist rabbis for a total of 14 new women rabbis. They will bring to 75 the total number of American women ordained as Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis since 1972 when Sally Preisand was ordained by the HUC-JIR as America’s first woman rabbi.

Ordination of the 1982-83 rabbinical graduates of the HUC-JIR will be held on May 29 at Temple Emanu-El in New York and on June 4 at the Plum Street Temple in Cincinnati. Ordination of the RCC graduates will be held on June 5 at the Germantown Jewish Centre in Germantown, Pa.


The women who will be ordained as Reform rabbis at Temple Emanu-El are: Shira Stern of New York City; Jacqueline Koch Ellison of New York City; Leslie Jean Alexander of Berkeley, Cal.; Sandy Ellen Bogin of Torrance, Cal.; Elyse Goldstein of Scranton, Pa.; Carole Lee Meyers of Washington, D.C.; Marjorie Sue Yudkin of St. Paul, Minn.; and Susan Leslie Einbinder of Ridgewood, N.J.

The women to be ordained as Reform rabbis at the Plum Street Temple are Susan Ellen Berman of Brooklyn; Illene Melamed of St. Paul, Minn.; Randi Musnitsky of Penn Valley, a Philadelphia suburb; and Jill Colman Ruskin of Southfield, Mich.

The two women who will be ordained as Reconstructionist rabbis are Deborah Bartnoff of Englewood, N. J.; and Cynthia Kravitz of Philadelphia.

Most of the women ordained so far hold posts as assistant rabbis and a few have been promoted to associate rabbi, a generalization that applies to newly-ordained men rabbis as well. While no woman has been named as senior rabbi by any congregation, a growing number have been named “solo rabbis,” a designation for rabbis of congregations too small to either need or afford more than one rabbi. A number of the new women rabbis have taken part-time pulpits.

Others have taken positions as Hillel Foundation rabbis, while still others have chosen staff positions in schools, administrative work and organizations.