A female Rabbi. The concept doesn’t sound to crazy to our generation of Jewish men and women, but ask your parents how many of them knew a female Rabbi growing up and the answer is going to be ZERO. Although the first female Rabbi was ordained in 1935 in Germany (didn’t know THAT did ya?), the Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative movements did not ordain their first female Rabbi until 1972, 1974, and 1985, respectively.
And Minnesota proudly boasts that the first ever female Rabbi ordained in the Conservative movement of Judaism was our very own Rabbi Amy Eilberg. That’s pretty awesome.
This week, Patch.com featured another Minnesota female Rabbi, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman of Temple Israel, a rabbinical rockstar in her own right, as part of its community leaders series. The article reads:
With the exception of one other female rabbi who leads a congregation of about 1,200, Zimmerman said she is the only female to become senior rabbi of a congregation the size of Temple Israel, which stands at nearly 2,000 members.
“It was a bold move back in the 1970s,” Zimmerman said. “The reform movement was the first to ordain women, because they said we can understand the tradition, but we also have to understand the world as we know it, and that gender roles are changing. It had a lot to do with the women’s movement and the world outside of Judaism,” Zimmerman said.
Read the full article on Patch.com here, or learn more about Rabbi Zimmerman firsthand – stop by Temple Israel, or get involved with their group for young Jews in their 20s, Temple Israel Young Jews – search “TIYJ” on Facebook.
“With the exception of one other female rabbi who leads a congregation of about 1,200, Zimmerman said she is the only female to become senior rabbi of a congregation the size of Temple Israel, which stands at nearly 2,000 members.”
Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, CA has a female Senior Rabbi and over 3,000 members.
It’d be nice to put together a listing of women rabbis who grew up in Minneapolis.
They’re spread all around–my sister Rabbi Deborah Brin led the first women’s group to FIRST pray at the Western WAll with a Torah on Dec 1, 1988, setting off quite a movement. She has a pulpit at Nahalat Shalom in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Temple Israel is at about 2,000 families, not individuals.
There are a lot of great resources about these “firsts” on the Jewish Women’s Archive site. Check it out!