Sally J. Priesand, the first US woman rabbi of the Jewish Reform movement, will be retiring after 40 years of going against all odds and attending Jewish seminary to achieve her lifelong dream to become a teacher of the faith. Many thought she attended seminary for a different reason. “I think at first they thought I came to marry a rabbi rather than be one,” Priesand said. “So they didn't take me all that seriously.” Priesand was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972. Priesand is seen by the community as a woman who changed contemporary Judaism, as two years later the Reconstructionist Movement ordained their first female rabbi and the Conservative Movement followed in 1985. “Sally Priesand was a genuine innovator in American Jewish life and in Jewish history,” said Rabbi David Ellenson, president of the Reform Seminary. In the 1920s, the Reform movement ruled that Jewish Law does not forbid women from becoming rabbis.
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