Austria gets first female rabbi


BERLIN, May 8 (JTA) – A child survivor of the Holocaust has become the first female rabbi in the country her family fled some 63 years ago.

After her appointment was announced in March, Eveline Goodman-Thau was welcomed Sunday to Vienna’s 160-member liberal congregation, Or Chadash, where she will serve for at least one year.

Goodman-Thau, who will be 67 next month, was ordained in Jerusalem last October by an American-born modern Orthodox rabbi, Rabbi Jonathan Chipman.

Goodman-Thau was born in Vienna in June 1934. Months after the Nazis took control of Austria, her family fled the country in December 1938. They survived World War II in hiding in Holland.

Goodman-Thau, who is now a Dutch citizen, was named in 1996 director of the Institute for Research on Dutch Jewry in Holland.

Goodman-Thau has held various academic posts in fields of contemporary Jewish philosophy and Holocaust studies, in Europe, Israel and the United States.

In 1999, she served as a visiting scholar at Harvard Divinity School.

She and her husband, Moshe Goodman, have five children and 14 grandchildren. They live in Berlin and Vienna.

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