Tradition and Revolution: Female Spiritual Leaders

An Interview with Rabba Sara Hurwitz

Portrait of Sara Hurwitz

Rabba Sara Hurwitz; photo: Poppy Studio

In 2009 Rabba Sara Hurwitz became the first Orthodox woman to be ordained at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale. In the same year, together with Rabbi Avi Weiss, she founded Yeshivat Maharat, the first Orthodox seminary to ordain women as clergy—full spiritual and halakhic leaders. Today, Yeshivat Maharat offers a dynamic group of women the opportunity to become ordained clergy within the bounds of halakha. It is not surprising that, when asked about which revolution she admires, Rabba Hurwitz’s answer is: “The women’s liberation movement, especially in the 1960s and 70s, which helped the world come to terms with the notion that 50 percent of the population‒‒women‒‒have equal abilities, talents, and passion to contribute to society.”

We asked her about female spiritual leaders, the #metoo movement, and the digital revolution:  continue reading


“We were being driven like hunted animals!”

Max Karp on his deportation from Berlin on October 28, 1938

“On 28.10 at 6 o’clock in Berlin we were taken from our beds and detained by the police. People from the neighborhoods of Mitte, northern Berlin and Tiergarten were gathered at the barracks on Kleine Alexanderstr.”

Portrait of Max Karp with newspaper

Mendel Max Karp, Berlin around 1935; Jewish Museum Berlin, gift of Joanne Intrator

Thus begins Mendel Max Karp’s lengthy account about his deportation from the German capital exactly 80 years ago. He composed it on November 17, 1938 in the Polish border town of Zbąszyń, in a letter to his nephew Gerhard Intrator, who had been living in New York since 1937. Max Karp was a musician born in the village of Ruszelczyce near Przemyśl in 1892. His letter harrowingly depicts the precise process of his detention and deportation. Max Karp was one of the roughly 17,000 Polish nationals who were expelled from Germany during the Polenaktion (“Polish Action”) of October 27–29, 1938. His depiction of the events is among the very earliest and is unparalleled in its level of detail and scope. The account of his experiences on October 28th and 29th is provided here in its entirety:  continue reading

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“Whatever you want to see – you come to Jerusalem, and you can find it there.”

Comments from Visitors to our Jerusalem Exhibition

Postcard on which is written "Make hummus not war"

Visitors can leave a comment, greeting, or anything else that fits on a post card on a wall titled “Next year in Jerusalem” at the end of the exhibition; Jewish Museum Berlin.

I’m standing in the hallway at the end of the current exhibition Welcome to Jerusalem (learn more at our website), talking to visitors at random if they seem open to a brief conversation about the exhibition.

Was today your first visit to Jerusalem?

Elke (around 50 years old) from Berlin was in Jerusalem in 2000, and some of the things in the exhibition resonated for her. Norbert (69) from Bremen had never been there, but the exhibition made him want to see “this tremendous mish-mash of religions and peoples.”

To Marianna and Marta from Italy, who were just “in the city” for the first time, Jerusalem seemed above all else old, international, and rich in history. Lorenza (54) also from Italy, thought the video installations in the exhibition were particularly interesting because they show modern Jerusalem, which is nonetheless full of tradition. None of the three would wager a real trip to Jerusalem right now because of the political situation.

The Israelis Malka (58) and Shani (27) live near Tel Aviv but are very familiar with Jerusalem. Jonny (27) and Nora (24) even got married there.

Does the exhibition reflect the image of Jerusalem as you know it?

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