Kvetch ‘N Kvell: Marking 50


Article Appreciated, WRN Warranted a Mention

I was delighted and proud to see so many of our local colleagues highlighted in Jarrad Saffren’s article, “Female Rabbis at 50: Challenges Remain” (Jan. 13). It is inspiring to see at this half-century mark, that there are so many women rabbis leading our spiritual communities here in Philadelphia.

In this tribute to the history and future of women in the rabbinate, I was hoping Saffren would mention the tremendous impact of the Women’s Rabbinic Network, founded in the late 1970s to support that first generation of women rabbis.

Since its founding, the WRN has created gathering spaces — in person and virtual — for women rabbis to draw strength from each other as we face the many frustrations mentioned in Saffren’s article. The WRN has provided me and countless other rabbis with mentorship, opportunities for professional development and resources that help us to navigate the challenges of the rabbinate.

While the network is affiliated with the Reform movement, the impact of our advocacy work regarding pay equity, family and medical leave, and safe and respectful workplaces extends far beyond our movement.

In honor of the 50th anniversary, the WRN has developed a four-part curriculum on the history of women in the rabbinate called, “Scouts, Trailblazers, Pathfinders, and Explorers.” Congregation Kol Ami will offer the course online on four Thursdays starting Feb. 10. For details, contact rabbi@kolamielkinspark.org.

Rabbi Leah R. Berkowitz | Congregation Kol Am and immediate past president, Women’s Rabbinic Network


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