For the first time in the history of American Jewry a woman was named rabbi of a Jewish congregation, when Temple Beth Israel here, a Reform congregation, appointed Mrs. William Ackerman to succeed her late husband as spiritual leader. Rabbi Ackerman died last November.
Mrs. Ackerman, who is 57 years old, said that her right to perform marriages and conduct funerals has already been established by the state of Mississippi. She emphasized that she will perform all the duties of a rabbi. The Union of American Hebrew Congregations sanctioned her appointment and ruled that “woman cannot justly be denied the privilege of ordination.”
The only other woman in the world to act as spiritual leader of a Reformed congregation until now is Miss Lily Montagu, who has been holding the post in a Reformed-Liberal congregation in London, for 15 years.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.