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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Worship, Conversion, Intermarriage (5/12)
Section - Question 9.20: What is the Timeline of Women in the Rabbinate?

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   The web site
   [5] provides a
   timeline of Women's Leadership of Judaism in the US. There's a whole
   chronology of women's ordination, in all religions, at
   [6] Some
   key dates, drawn from these sites as well as other sites, are:
     * 1846. Reform Judaism in Gemany states that women are equal to men
       in Judaism in terms of "religious privileges and duties." The
       result is that in Reform Judaism, women are counted in the minyan
       or quorum needed for public worship service, the daily prayer in
       which a man thanks God for not having made him a woman is dropped,
       girls and women are taught Torah and Talmud, and women and men sit
       together in the congregation.
     * 1875. Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise founds Hebrew Union College (Reform)
       in Cincinnati, and encourages women to attend. However, they
       cannot be ordained as rabbis.
     * 1886. The Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) is founded to
       train rabbis.
     * 1893. Two Jewish women, Josephine Lazarus and Henrietta Szold,
       address the World's Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in
       conjunction with the Columbian Exposition. The Congress of Jewish
       Women, organized by Hannah G. Solomon, is held in conjunction with
       the Parliament. The Congress of Jewish Women continues after the
       Parliament as the National Council of Jewish Women (Reform), the
       first national Jewish women's organization, with Hannah G. Solomon
       as President.
     * 1911. Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America, is
       founded by Henrietta Szold (Conservative), who had earlier
       attended Jewish Theological Seminary, to bring improved health
       care to Palestine.
     * 1921. The issue of ordaining a woman rabbi is first raised by
       Martha Neumark, a student at the Hebrew Union College (Reform) and
       daughter of a HUC professor. The HUC faculty and the Central
       Conference of American Rabbis conclude that there is no reason not
       to ordain women, but the HUC Board of Governors maintains the
       policy of ordaining only men as rabbis.
     * 1922. The first bat mitzvah in America takes place for Judith
       Kaplan, daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, who subsequently
       becomes the inspirer of Reconstructionism.
     * 1935. Regina Jonas was ordained by the liberal Rabbi Max Dienemann
       in Offenbach GERMANY, who was the head of the Liberal Rabbis'
       Association. Being ordained was one thing, but finding a pulpit
       was another. Regina Jonas found work as a chaplain in various
       Jewish social institutions. Because of Nazi persecution many
       rabbis emigrated and so many small communities were without
       rabbinical support. This made it possible for her to be a rabbi
       and to preach in a synagogue, but not for a long period. She was
       soon ordered - like all Jews - into forced labor in a factory.
       Despite this, she continued her rabbinical work, i.e. she
       continued to teach and to preach. For more information, see
     * 1938. Tehilla Lichtenstein is the first woman (non-ordained) to
       serve her congregation as rabbi after death of her husband, Rabbi
       Morris Lichtenstein. Tehilla Lichtenstein serves as Leader of the
       Society for Jewish Science from 1938 until her death in 1973.
     * 1951-54. Paula Ackerman (non-ordained) in Meridian, Mississippi,
       serves as rabbi to a congregation after the death of her husband,
       Rabbi William Ackerman.
     * 1968. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College is founded in
       Philadelphia based on the ideals of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, a
       strong advocate of the equality of all persons.
     * 1972. Sally Priesand is the first woman rabbi ordained in the
       United States by a Jewish theological seminary, Reform Judaism's
       Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio.
     * 1973. The first Jewish feminist conference convenes in New York
     * 1974. Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is the first woman ordained by the
       Reconstructionist Rabbinical College.
     * 1979. The Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) Faculty
       Senate tables the issue of admitting women for the rabbinical
       training as "provoking unprecedented divisions . . . . The bitter
       divergence of opinion threatens to inflict irreparable damage."
     * 1983. The Jewish Theological Seminary (Conservative) Faculty
       Senate votes to admit women for rabbinical training.
     * 1984. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College faculty vote to
       admit gay and lesbian students.
       Conservative Judaism's Jewish Theological Seminary admits 18 women
       into its rabbinical program.
     * 1985. Amy Eilberg is ordained the first Conservative woman rabbi.
     * 1987. There are 101 Reform women rabbis, constituting 7% of 1,450
       Reform rabbis.
     * 1988. The Jewish Women's Studies Project is begun by students and
       faculty at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College to promote
       Women's Studies at that institution
     * 1990. Survey by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform)
       shows that 57 out of 153 Reform women rabbis work full-time in
       congregations that belong to the Union of American Hebrew
       Congregations; 16 are Assistant Rabbis, 10 are Associate Rabbis,
       and 31 are solo Rabbis. There are only 37 Reform women rabbis with
       the requisite experience making them eligible to become senior
       rabbi of a congregation of more than 900 members . Three years
       earlier, there were only 7 women rabbis who were so eligible. As
       of 1990, no woman rabbi has become senior rabbi of such a large
       congregation. Only 3 women rabbis head congregations of 300-600
       members, while 90 women rabbis have the qualifications to do so.
       The Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform) votes to admit
       openly and sexually active gay men and lesbians to the rabbinate.
       Earlier, Reconstructionism, Unitarian-Universalists, and the
       United Church of Christ had begun ordaining lesbians and gay men.
     * 1991. There are 168 women rabbis ordained by the Hebrew Union
       College (Reform); 40% were ordained during the previous five
       years; 80% were ordained during the previous ten years. Women
       rabbis constitute about 10% of Reform rabbis.
     * 1992. Rabbi Susan Grossman is elected as the first woman to serve
       on the Committee on Law and Standards of Conservative Judaism's
       Rabbinical Assembly.
     * 1993. Conservative Judaism has ordained a total of 52 women rabbis
       between 1985 and 1993. Of the total of twenty graduates who were
       ordained in 1993, eleven were women (55%). June 1993 The Hebrew
       Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform) has ordained a
       total of 205 women rabbis. Of the 224 currently enrolled in the
       Hebrew Union College, 101 are women, constituting 45% of the
       student body.
     * 1995. Bea Wyler, who had studied at the JTS in New York, became
       the first woman rabbi in post war Germany at the Jewish community
       of Oldenburg.

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