Pioneer Rabbi

As America’s first female rabbi, Sally Priesand reflects on the responsibility of being first and how it has shaped her life.

Rabbi Sally Jane Priesand is America’s first female rabbi ordained by a rabbinical seminary, and the second formally ordained female rabbi in Jewish history, after Regina Jonas. Priesand was ordained in 1972 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati, Ohio. After her ordination she served first as assistant and then as associate rabbi at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City, and later led Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, New Jersey from 1981 until her retirement in 2006.