Tuesday, March 29
The long-hidden history
of Regina Jonas, first ordained woman rabbi
Gail Twersky Reimer, former executive director of the Jewish Women’s Archive, will present “Regina Jonas: Forgotten, Remembered/Forgotten, Remembered,” about the first modern-day woman rabbi, at Clark University
Beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29
… in the Rose Library of the Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 11 Hawthorne St.
This David H. ’65 and Edith Chaifetz Endowed Lecture in Jewish Studies is free and open to the public.
The talk will include a screening of Reimer’s short documentary film, “In the Footsteps of Regina Jonas.”
In the summer of 2014 a special delegation of American rabbis, scholars, and communal lay leaders, traveled to Germany and the Czech Republic to honor and learn about Regina Jonas, the first woman to be ordained a Rabbi in modern times, and to publically commemorate her communal work as a rabbi both in Berlin and Theresienstadt. Jonas died at Auschwitz in 1944.
The group, which included the first American women ordained as rabbis by their respective movements (Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, Orthodox), eagerly embraced this newly discovered foremother.
In this talk, Reimer, who was part of the delegation, reflects on a series of questions related to women and Jewish collective history and memory.
As she traces Jonas’ life, she considers a range of possible explanations for why the historical record was so silent about her. She then looks more closely at the different trajectories of Jonas’ rediscovery in Europe and the United States, and what it teaches us about the dynamic relationship between memory and forgetting.
Reimer is the former executive director of the Jewish Women’s Archive, a not-for-profit organization she founded in 1995 to document and share the stories, struggles, and achievements of Jewish women. She holds a doctorate in English and American Literature and has co-edited two anthologies of Jewish women’s writings.