Marking 80 Years of Women in the Rabbinate

The role of women’s leadership in faith communities

Unterricht an der Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin (1935): Leo Baeck Institute New York

The year 2015 marked the 80th anniversary of the ordination of Regina Jonas (1902, Berlin – 1944, Auschwitz). Her rabbinate diploma represented a milestone in the struggle for equal treatment of Jewish women in this religious office, a process which was brought to an abrupt halt by the Shoah. After Sally Priesand was ordained in the United States in 1972, many believed for a long time that she was the first female rabbi in the world. By the 1990s, however, word had spread that a graduate of the Berlin University of the Sciences had already achieved this status in 1935. The international and interdisciplinary English-language conference “The Role of Women’s Leadership in Faith Communities” aimed to revive public memory of the successful history of emancipation by Jewish women in Germany. By comparing the reform processes in churches, the conference emphasised the similarities between Judaism and Christianity in terms of how they view tradition and renewal. The goal of the conference was to create a basis for scientific historicisation and contextualisation of feminist upheavals in Judaism, and help consolidate and establish Jewish theological women’s studies in the form of a network or research department.

Artistic directors: Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson (US)

Speakers: Bradley Shavit Artson (US), Rachel Elior (IL), Edyta Gawron (PL), Atina Grossman (US), Walter Homolka, Elisa Klapheck, Pamela S. Nadell (US), Gail Twersky Reimer (US), Shuly Rubin Schwartz (US), Esther I. Seidel (GB), Christina von Braun, Katharina von Kellenbach (US), Anna Chipczynska (PL)


Abraham Geiger Kolleg gGmbH

Postfach 120852

10598 Berlin (external link, opens in a new window)