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Conservative Movement Ordains Women

Lawrence Bush
October 23, 2017
The faculty senate of the Jewish Theological Seminary of Conservative Judaism agreed to ordain women by a vote of 34-8 on this date in 1983, after years of debate and delay. In the spring of 1985, Amy Eilberg would become the first woman rabbi within the movement. Reform Judaism had ordained women since 1972, and the Reconstructionist movement since the founding of its seminary in 1968. (See our Jewdayo entries from June 3, 2010 and May 18, 2017.) “The years of struggle, of pain and of exclusion are at an end. Our movement faces a new beginning, a new era of equality and vitality, and a beginning of a healing process that will bring us all to a new kind of unity, in which we all may be included and to which all must contribute.” —Rabbi Amy Eilberg

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.