• Meyer Grunberg

Regina Jonas, First Ordained Female Rabbi, is Born, 1902

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

On This Day in Jewish History: August 3rd, 1902


Regina Jonas, the first female rabbi to be officially ordained as one, was born.


Jones was born in Berlin #onthisday, August 3rd, 1902. She studied at the Higher Institute for Jewish Studies and graduated as an Academic Teacher of Religion.


Jones wrote her thesis on the legality (according to Jewish sources) of whether a woman could be a rabbi or not. Afterwards, she sought to be officially ordained.


After some struggle and pushback from traditional and orthodox communities, Jones was successful in 1935 when Rabbi Max Dienemann of the Liberal Rabbis' Association ordained her - making history in Judaism and its liberal streams.


After working for some time in a small German community, the Nazi Gestapo sent her to Theresienstadt concentration camp. While at the camp, Rabbi Jonas worked with Victor Frankl by meeting people as they arrived on the trains to better cope with the shock.


At the camp, Rabbi Jonas wrote 24 lectures titled "Lectures of the One and Only Woman Rabbi, Regina Jonas" - some dealing with women in Jewish history, Talmudic topics, and various others discussing a wide range of Jewish beliefs, ethics and festivals.


After 2 years at at Theresienstadt,she was deported to Auschwitz where she was murdered at age 42 on December 12, 1944. May her memory be a blessing.


On her birthday, we highlight her trailblazing work in paving the path for future female rabbis within Reform and Reconstructionist Jewish streams.

Text Source: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/regina-jonas

Image Source: Public Domain



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