MA News

Women’s Philanthropy Sponsors Program on the Evolving Role of Women Rabbis

Rabba Sara Hurwitz

SPRINGFIELD – The Women’s Philanthropy department of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts is sponsoring “Paths to Holiness:  The Evolving Role of Women Rabbis” on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the Goldstein Auditorium of the Springfield JCC. The program will consist of a panel discussion with three women rabbis representing the Reform, Jewish Renewal, Conservative, and Orthodox movements.  The event is free and open to the public and will include a dessert reception. An R.S.V.P. is requested by Sept. 12.

Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz

The panelists include Rabba Sara Hurwitz (Orthodox), Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz (Conservative), and Rabbi Raquel (Riqi) Kosovske (Reform & Jewish Renewal).  Rabba Sara Hurwitz is considered the first Orthodox woman rabbi ordained in the U.S. She is part of the Rabbinic staff at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, an Orthodox congregation in Bronx, N.Y., and serves as Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox school to confirm women as spiritual and halachic leaders.  In 2010, her title was changed from “maharat” – an acronym for a person who is a public leader, halachic authority, spiritual guide and Torah scholar, to “rabba,” the Hebrew word for a female rabbi.

Rabbi Amy Wallk Katz, Ph.D. is the rabbi of Temple Beth El in Springfield.  In addition, she serves on Chancellor Arnold Eisen’s Rabbinic Leadership Cabinet, has a column in Moment Magazine, teaches a class at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and has been involved with the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School for 15 years.  Rabbi Katz received rabbinical ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, a bachelor’s degree in Jewish Studies from Barnard College, a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University, a master’s degree in Jewish Education from the University of Judaism, and a doctorate in Education from Michigan State University.

Rabbi Riqi Kosovske

Rabbi Raquel (Riqi) Kosovske has been the first full-time rabbi at Beit Ahavah, the Reform synagogue of greater Northampton, since 2007, following her ordination from Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles.  She also holds  Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees in Writing & Consciousness from New College of California.  Rabbi Kosovke serves as the 2nd vice president of the New England Reform Rabbis, and is a member of Ohalah, the Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal.  Her writing includes work on Judaism, birth and spirituality. Sue Kline, immediate past president of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, will serve as the moderator of the panel discussion.
This program is sponsored by Women’s Philanthropy of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, and is supported in part by a grant from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. For more information, contact Debbie Peskin, Women’s Philanthropy Director, at (413) 737-4313, ext. 121.

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