The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate (CCAR Press), co-edited by Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr (New York '99) and Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf (New York '04), is the winner of the Jewish Book Council's 2016 Barbara Dobkin Award in Women’s Studies.
This pioneering anthology paints an illuminating and necessary picture of the past while laying the groundwork for important work yet to be done. Rabbis and scholars from across the Jewish world reflect back on the historic significance of women in the rabbinate and explore issues related to both the professional and personal lives of women rabbis. This collection examines the ways in which the reality of women in the rabbinate has impacted all aspects of Jewish life, including congregational culture, liturgical development, life cycle ritual, the Jewish healing movement, spirituality, theology, and more.
"Barbara Berman Dobkin, for whom the award is named, is a pioneer philanthropist with a lifelong commitment to the full equality and complete integration of women and women's issues in Jewish communal life," says Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr. "To have produced a volume worthy of her name is the highest honor that could be bestowed upon The Sacred Calling, and I am truly grateful to the Jewish Book Council for recognizing the outstanding contributions women rabbis have made over the past four decades."
Rabbi Alysa Mendelson Graf shares, "Throughout my life, I have been inspired by the stories and strength of those trailblazing women who came before me in the rabbinate. By honoring The Sacred Calling with this award, the Jewish Book Council has helped us amplify the voices of women rabbis and bring attention to the myriad ways we have changed the rabbinate and the larger Jewish world for the better."
The Central Conference of American Rabbis and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion held “The Sacred Calling: Then and Now - Celebrating Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate” on September 8, 2016 at HUC-JIR's New York campus. Rabbi Sally J. Priesand, the first woman rabbi in the United States, discussed her journey to the rabbinate. Rabbi Priesand was joined by The Sacred Calling co-editor, Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr, and contributor, Rabbi Leah Berkowitz. Representing different decades of ordination, the panelists discussed the unique history of women in the rabbinate and its impact on all aspects of Jewish life. The recording of the event is available here.
The Sacred Calling was published by CCAR Press, the primary publisher of the Reform Movement and a division of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Since 1889, CCAR Press has provided essential resources for the Jewish community of today and tomorrow. Through CCAR Press, and its new imprint Reform Judaism Publishing (RJP), CCAR is the source for liturgy, sacred texts, educational materials, apps, and other content for Reform rabbis, cantors, and educators; Reform congregations and Jewish organizations; Reform Jews; and the wider Jewish community.
Jewish Book Council is a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting Jewish interest literature. JBC ensures that Jewish interest authors have a platform, that readers are able to find books on topics across Jewish life that may interest them, and ultimately have the tools to discuss those works with their community. The National Jewish Book Award was established by the Jewish Book Council in 1950 in order to recognize outstanding works of Jewish literature. As the longest-running North American awards program of its kind in the field of Jewish literature, the National Jewish Book Awards is designed to recognize outstanding books of Jewish interest. The winners of the 2016 National Jewish Book Awards will be honored on March 7, 2017 at a gala awards dinner and ceremony to be held at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.