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women rabbis

  • Female Mohels Add Warmth — and Controversy — to Old Tradition

    When Dr. Debra Weiss-Ishai watched her son’s brit milah two years ago, she thought to herself, I could do this better. Not just technically, although as a pediatrician she had done numerous medical circumcisions. She felt she could bring a warmth and spiritual beauty to the ritual in ways her old-school mohel, who she says… More ▸

  • As Conservatives Question Halachah, Some Predict an Exodus to the Right

    Some Conservative Jews were taken aback last month when Rabbi Neil Gillman urged the movement to stop calling itself halachic. But for Rabbi Bruce Ginsburg, Gillman simply confirmed what he’d been saying for 20 years. “Until now there has been the widespread assumption in the Conservative movement that it is a halachic movement,” or a… More ▸

  • U.S. Navy Rabbi Seeks to Bring a Bit of Yiddishkeit to the Fleet

    As a rabbinical student in New York, it seemed unlikely to Daniella Kolodny that not long after ordination she’d be leading High Holiday and Sukkot services on an American military base in Yokosuka, Japan, as she is doing this year. On the other hand, considering that Yokosuka is on land, it was probably a more… More ▸

  • Jews Looking Outside Synagogues for New Rituals and Life-cycle Events

    Sam Sontag’s parents wanted him to have a bar mitzvah, but they aren’t religious and felt it would be hypocritical to join a congregation. Shalva Sorani is active in her Berkeley, Calif., congregation, but when she faced a mastectomy her friends wanted a female rabbi to lead their all-women healing circle. These are some of… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Brussels’ French-speaking liberal community celebrated the arrival of Belgium’s first female rabbi. On Sunday, Congregation Beth Hillel also inaugurated its new building, the first in the country that is specifically designed to house a non-Orthodox community, while welcoming its recently appointed rabbi, Paris-born Floriane Chinsky. More ▸

  • Large Conservative Synagogue Names Female Rabbi in ‘groundbreaking’ Move

    Twenty years after the Conservative movement began ordaining women as rabbis, a large New Jersey congregation has chosen a woman to fill its top rabbinic post, a development movement leaders are hailing as "groundbreaking." The board of Congregation Beth El in South Orange voted on March 7 to appoint Rabbi Francine Roston, 36, as the… More ▸

  • News Brief

    Alvin Reines, whose philosophy helped lay the foundation for the ordination of female rabbis, died Nov. 14 at age 78. Reines was a longtime professor of philosophy at the Hebrew Union College — Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. More ▸