It was my honor to work with America’s first four women rabbis to curate our Contemporary Issues Forum gallery for the month of June, in recognition of the 40th anniversary of women’s rabbinic ordination in America. Rabbis Sally Priesand, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, and Amy Eilberg, and Rabba Sara Hurwitz, each wrote a question on the topic of their choice and answered it as well—opening up a dialogue between visitors and some of today’s most groundbreaking Jewish leaders.
Their questions address social media, female spiritual leadership, Israel, and the connection between morality and religion. Visitors are responding in interesting ways every day. For example, to Rabbi Sasso’s question, “Do female spiritual leaders make a difference in religious communities?” a visitor named Sammie answered, “No, because men and women are equal.”
I have to say that I was a little nervous that our “guest curators” would form questions out of statements they already agreed with—it can be tough to compose yes-or-no questions that elicit meaningful answers, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing a question you already believe to be a true statement. But in the end, only one answered “yes” to her own question, and all of them are receiving tremendous attention and thoughtful feedback in the gallery. It is rewarding to see our visitors so engaged with these topics, and I would welcome these women back as guest curators any time!
-Contributed by Ivy Weingram