The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate

I had an amazing childhood. I grew up in a time and place, where I thought that boys and girls were equal; and that anything a boy could do, a girl could do, and vice versa. I didn’t
think that you could exclude someone on the basis of their gender.In my childhood I saw my parent’sfriends (many of them women) and theywereallworking, they were teachers, doctors and lawyersetc.It never really occurred to me that girls could not do exactly the same as boys, and if it was a girls dream she could be an astronaut, or military fighter pilot.

It wasn’t feminism per se, it was just my life’s experience, but then, when I grew up and travelled, I realised that I had lived in a bubble. I didn’t realise that women still faced so many issues; for example, receiving less pay or that women have fewer chances for advancement then men, and all this because they are simply women.

Only two months ago we celebrated Passover, and similarly as the children of Israel were in the desert for40 years, we were blessed with the book “The Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate”. This book demonstrates the difficult road women have had to take in their own wilderness. Women in Reform Judaism have been ordained for the past 44 years.

“The Sacred Calling” book, tells us about women rabbis, that they are not a unique phenomenon anymore, rather they are part of the fabric of Jewish life. In this anthology, 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 on all aspects of Jewish life, including congregational culture, liturgical development, life cycle ritual, the Jewish healing movement, spirituality, theology, and more. This book gives us an opportunity to celebrate many important achievements, but it also shows how much works still needs to be done.
Unfortunately, women rabbis are still in many instances judged by their appearance, and not so much for their ability to perform professional work. But I am being a little biased towards an article in this book (on page 545), in that tells about my Mom’s journey, of which we are all so proud. Sometimes when the day looks a little grey and it feels as if a woman still “needs to be in the kitchen” etc. I can open up an amazing collection of reflections and essays, and I know that the future is always improving, and it will indeed bring us bright changes, all we need to do is point ourselves in a specific direction, and then put one foot in front of the other.

If you would like to order your copy, it can be done on ccar.com and amazon.com.

Wishing you a peaceful weekend.

Rabbi Julia Margolis 

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