Ha. Insert other industries as you will, but be sure to include this one - the Rabbi business! Debra Nussbaum Cohen noted recently at The Forward’s Sisterhood Blog that, halfway through 2010, that Newsweeks annual list of the “the 50 most influential rabbis in America” included just 6 women and most were at the bottom of the list.
The first woman to appear — Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, the president of the Reform movement’sCentral Conference of American Rabbis — comes in at position number 17. Still, it’s one higher than her ranking on last year’s list, when she was also the highest-placed member of the female rabbinate.
In all, six female rabbis were included this year. With one more than last year, at least there’s an upward trend, even if it is slow.
Rabba Sara Hurwitz only makes the list at position 36, odd since her ordination and title were ground-breaking, revolutionary and led to what was perhaps the biggest religious imbroglio in Orthodoxy over the past year.
It’s actually stunning that Rabba Hurtwitz did not come in at least the top five. She was the first officially-ordinated Orthodox female rabbi! Ever! She caused a huge freak-out in the community, sparked tons of discussion, forced tons of soul-searching, and did it all while not only being wise, thoughful, calm, deliberate and fully trained in all manner of halacha, she did it while raising three young kids. How is “influence” measured - would 1.14 million Google results count? And don’t forget we’re talking niche of a niche here (plus a niche that only blogs 6 out of 7 days per week, no less).
But also, see Nussbaum Cohen here:
Truth be told, though, I had a hard time easily coming up with other female rabbis whose influence and impact is national in scope.
Sigh. There are ratios to be changed all over the place, eh?