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Regina Jonas (August 1902 – October or December 1944) was a Berlin-born rabbi. In 1935, she became the first woman in history to be ordained as a rabbi. She died while interred in the Auschwitz concentration camp in the winter of 1944.
- If I confess what motivated me, a woman, to become a rabbi, two things come to mind. My belief in God’s calling and my love of humans. God planted in our heart skills and a vocation without asking about gender. Therefore, it is the duty of men and women alike to work and create according to the skills given by God.
- C.-V.-Zeitung, June 23, 1938
Can a Woman Be a Rabbi According to Halachic Sources?
- But when it comes to a relaxing of the religious ban in the loosest sense of the word, in which the justification of restricted women from certain religious responsibilities and actions, were quite fitting and earn the highest respect – however, today, where woman is clearly present in public life and accomplishes practical tasks in cooperation with men, contact has become casual.
- Many decrees of our sages were withdrawn, as we earlier have seen; particularly concerning this kind of tsni’ut, they lose much of their severity.
- Their entire work as household “supervisor” is pasken. This is possible for in this area she knows something: no one else can represent her and therefore she had the chance to demonstrate in practice that she can summon the requisite understanding and seriousness for such matters.
- It is nothing special to see women, it is a matter of being accustomed, it does not excite the fantasies of a man.
- How beneficial it could be to have a woman in the rabbinic role to reclaim the lost meaning of tsni’ut by example and through teaching.
- In spite of everything, in dealing with the theme at hand, one must, as is often repeated here, take both the changing times and the sensibilities of earlier times into account.
- It is written that “one relies upon women,” so it is not foreign to Judaism if this “support” is broadened from the narrow, permitted range into a larger one of pasken, to which in principle there is no objection.
- Just as both female doctors and teachers in time have become a necessity from a psychological standpoint, so has the female rabbi.
- I must fight for God.