Sally Priesand Becomes First Female Rabbi
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Time Period
6/3/1972
Description
Growing up in Cleveland, Sally J. Priesand longed to be a rabbi. In 1964, she entered the University of Cincinnati and after graduation moved over to the Reform movement’s rabbinical school at the nearby Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. In 1972, she became the nation’s first ordained woman rabbi.

Thrust into the spotlight for this distinction, Priesand nonetheless discovered that many synagogues weren’t ready for a clergywoman. She was hired after graduation as assistant rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York, but left seven years later, when leaders wouldn’t commit to naming her senior rabbi.

In 1981, after two years of serving in various capacities, she became senior rabbi at Monmouth Reform Temple in the small town of Tinton Falls, N.J. She stayed until retiring in 2006. By then, there were more than 800 ordained women rabbis in America in Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist Judaism.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian)
Women and Religion
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Religious Minorities (Non-Christian) in American History
Women and Religion in American History
Religious Groups
Timeline Entries for the same religious group Judaism Family
Judaism Family: Other ARDA Links

Photographs

Sally Priesand holding Torah- Hathi Trust- from Manpower, vol 4 (1972)
Web Source(s)
https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/priesand-sally-jane
Jewish Women's Archive, "Sally Jane Priesand"
Web Page Contributor
Sandi Dolbee
Affliated with: Former Religion and Ethics Editor, The San Diego Union-Tribune

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