This Week in History: First American Woman Rabbi - Jewish Women's Archive

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sally Priesand made history on June 3, 1972, when she was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR), becoming the first female rabbi in American history and the first woman to be ordained by a rabbinical seminary. Priesand proved her doubters wrong. Upon graduation, she secured a post as assistant rabbi at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan, considered one of the premier reform synagogues in the country, with some 750 families. She served that congregation, as assistant and associate rabbi, for seven years.


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu