The first female rabbi

Oh look, another one.

It was only 50 years ago this month that the first female rabbi was ordained

For many American Jews, seeing a female rabbi is a pretty regular part of life. But it’s a fairly recent development. Sally Priesand – the first American female rabbi – was ordained just 50 years ago, on June 3, 1972.

This groundbreaking ordination changed women’s roles, and the course of Judaism itself.

Although Priesand had strong support from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, where she was enrolled in seminary, a lot of people still didn’t want to see her in the role.

“There would always come a time where some person would come up to me and tell me why women shouldn’t be rabbis,” says Priesand. “And I would say, ‘Thank you for sharing your opinion.’ And I would walk away.”

Priesand even reports a faculty member asking her boyfriend at the time when he would marry her, and “get rid of her.”

So women do exist, and they do matter, and they have faced discrimination and exclusion, and they have fought for their rights, and that too does matter.

So why does that change when abortion rights are the issue?

I would really love to know how NPR squares this.

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