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Second Conservative Woman Rabbi to Be Ordained by JTS

In a development similar to one which enabled Amy Eilberg to be ordained in May 1985 as the first Conservative woman rabbi, another woman rabbinical candidate will be ordained in graduation exercises at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (JTS) on May 11 as the second Conservative woman rabbi, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has learned.

The second woman to become a Conservative rabbi is Nina Bierber Feinstein of Dallas, Texas, a member of the incoming class of September 1984.

Eilberg, of Bloomington, Ind., was a member of the first class of women admitted to the JTS rabbinical school two years ago. Depending on a variety of factors, rabbinical training at the JTS requires four to six years of study.

Like Eilberg, Feinstein qualified for graduation and ordination through transfer credits and credits earned in the JTS rabbinical school since September 1984, according to a JTS spokesperson.

Women had been permitted to take rabbinical school classes on the understanding that taking such studies would not qualify them for rabbinical status–until the first class of 20 women candidates was enrolled in the JTS rabbinical school two years ago. That action capped a bitter struggle of nearly a decade within the Conservative movement, led by its rabbinical arm, the Rabbinical Assembly, to accept women for ordination as Conservative rabbis.

The JTA was also told that the total number of women in the JTS rabbinical school, as of the close of the 1985-86 academic year, was 30, including 11 who enrolled in September 1985. One of the 11 dropped out.

Eilberg, appointed as a chaplain at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, continues to serve there.

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