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Placements Reported for the Newest Group of Women Rabbis

August 18, 1982
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Seven of 12 women ordained last May and June as Reform rabbis have been placed in pulpits, three have accepted appointments as Hillel Foundation staff members, one has been named as a youth leader and one remains unplaced, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s annual survey of placements of newly-ordained women rabbis.

The situation for two women ordained last June as Reconstructionist rabbis is unique in the 10-year history of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Philadelphia. Rabbi Susan Schnur of Trenton, N.J. and Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer of Stanford, California, were both pregnant at their ordinations.

Rabbi Fuchs-Kreimer, who is married to Seth Kreimer, is expecting the couple’s first child this winter and is serving temporarily as rabbi of the Manhattan Reconstructionist Havurah She expects to continue in that position through the upcoming High Holy Days and thereafter until the birth takes place.

Rabbi Schnur, who is married to Leonard Fishman, was much closer at her ordination, to giving birth, and placement for her was accordingly postponed. She gave birth to a boy on August 7.

The 12 new Reform rabbis and the two Reconstructionist rabbis bring to 61 the total number of women ordained since Sally Prescind was ordained in 1972 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform higher education and rabbinical seminary, as the first woman rabbi in American history.

Rabbi Donna Berman of Valley Stream, N.Y. was named solo rabbi at Port Jewish Center in Port Washington, N.Y., bringing to eight the number of women Reform rabbis holding solo rabbinic posts, describing pulpits of congregations too small to need more than one rabbi.


The new ordnances who have accepted posts as assistant rabbis are: Amy Perlin of Washington, D.C. at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, Va.; Miriam Biatch of Studio City, Calif, at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Raphoel, Calif.; Deborah Zecher of Monroeville, Pa., at Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, N.Y.

Also, Lenore Bohm of Atlanta, Go., at Temple Beth Israel in San Diego; Dena Feingold of Janesville, Wisc, at Congregation Shalom in Milwaukee; and Deborah Hirsch of Chicago, at Temple Beth El in Great Neck, N.Y. Rabbi Bohm is the first woman rabbi in San Diego and the first Atlanta woman to become a rabbi.

Devorah Jacobson of Surfside, Fla., has been named associate director at the Hillel Foundation of Washington University in Clayton, Mo. Patricia Karlin of Plantation, Fla., has been named associate director of the Hillel Foundation at the University of California at Los Angeles. Sally Finestone of Clifton Forge, Va., has been named to the staff of the Hillel Foundation at Cincinnati University.

Rabbi Ruth Sohn of Teaneck, N. J. has been appointed director of the Jewish Association of College Youth at Columbia University in New York City. Rabbi Jolie Wolkoff of St. Louis Park, Minn, has not been placed yet, according to Rabbi Stanley Dreyfus, placement director at the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Reform rabbinical organization.

In June, 1981, Rabbi Debra Hachen, who holds a part-time solo pulpit at Congregation B’nai Shalom in Westborough, Maine, became the first woman rabbi in the United States to give birth while holding a pulpit, according to the current issue of “Reform Judaism,” the official publication of American Reform Judaism. As a mother, according to that report, Rabbi Hachen has met her rabbinical duties without much difficulty, saying her congregation “has been terrific” about her son.

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