Watch the Recording of: 50 Years of Women in the Rabbinate - Selichot Discussion & Service.

Followed by Zoom Selichot Service & Havdalah

With Pioneering Women Rabbis: Rabbi Joan Friedman, Rabbi Elyse Goldstein, Rabbi Karen Soria and moderated by Rabbi Sharon Sobel.









Speaker & Moderator Bios:


Rabbi Joan Friedman


Joan S. Friedman (NY 1980) is Lincoln Professor of Religion and Professor of History at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and was among the first twenty women ordained at HUC-JIR. She is a founding member and past co-coordinator of the Women’s Rabbinic Network. As assistant rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple she was the first woman to serve as a rabbi in Canada. She went on to be the first full-time rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom in Bloomington, IN, before becoming Jewish Chaplain and Instructor in Religion at Colgate University. After completing her doctorate in Jewish history at Columbia University in 2003 and wandering in the academic adjunct wilderness, she joined the faculty of the College of Wooster in 2006, while also serving, for a decade, as its campus rabbi. Her 2013 book “Guidance, Not Governance”: Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof and Reform Responsa was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist. After 25 years of serving officially or as a corresponding member on the CCAR Responsa Committee, in 2019 she became its first female chair. She and her wife Nancy live in Wooster with two small parrots, and have two children and two grandchildren. Their retirement dream trip is to cycle across the US on their recumbent tricycles.


Rabbi Elyse Goldstein


Rabbi Elyse Goldstein is the founding Rabbi of City Shul, a Reform congregation in downtown Toronto she started in 2011. She arrived in Toronto in 1983, at that time as the only female Rabbi in all of Canada . After her first position at Holy Blossom Temple she founded Kolel: The Adult Centre for Liberal Jewish Learning— the first liberal adult “yeshiva” in North America. She was the first woman to be elected as president of the interdenominational Toronto Board of Rabbis, and was one of seven women featured in the Canadian National Film Board documentary, “Half the Kingdom.” Her first book, ReVisions: Seeing Torah through a Feminist Lens, won the Canadian National Jewish Book Awards in the field of Bible. Her second and third books, The Women’s Torah Commentary, and The Women’s Haftarah Commentary were the first Bible commentaries written by female Rabbis. Her fourth book, New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past, Forging the Future won finalist in The National Jewish Book Awards.

From 2017-2019 she appeared in The Clergy Project, an award-winning show about being clergy in the 21st century that she wrote together with a priest and a minister, winning Best of The Fringe Theatre Festival in Toronto. In 2005 she received the most prestigious award in Jewish education, the internationally recognized Covenant Award for Exceptional Jewish Educators. In 2013 she was named one of America’s 50 Most Influential Rabbis by The Forward and in May 2017 she was awarded Doctor of Laws Honoris Causis from Ryerson University in recognition of her path-breaking work in Canada.


Rabbi Karen Soria


Rabbi Soria, a captain in her late 50s, also tallies some firsts. She’s the first female Jewish chaplain in the Canadian Forces; she was Australia’s first female rabbi, and she was the first female rabbi to serve with the United States Marines during a four-year tour in Okinawa. She spent 11 years as a U.S. Navy chaplain.


Chicago-born, she came to Canada in 2003 and joined the Reserves last year, assigned to 3 Canadian Forces Flying Training School in Portage La Prairie, Man. Last summer, she transferred to 33 Combat Engineer Regiment in Ottawa. And it’s a part-time job: she “parades with” her unit one evening a week (meaning the unit meets and trains at that time; sometimes there is an actual parade) and goes in another evening a week for administrative work and to talk with other officers. She’s one of 27 female chaplains in the Forces.


Since 2008, the mother of four has been the spiritual leader of Temple Shalom in Winnipeg, where she travels every three or four weeks. As well, she teaches at Temple Israel in Ottawa and at Ottawa Modern Jewish School.




Rabbi Sharon Sobel


Rabbi Sharon Sobel is the Senior Rabbi of Temple Beth Sholom of Orange County, California. From 1989-1995, she served as Assistant Rabbi of Holy Blossom Temple doing groundbreaking work with those affected/infected by AIDS, HIV+, as well as serving on the Advisory Board th at planned and launched the Marvelle Koffler Breast Center at Mt Sinai Hospital. From 2000-2009, Rabbi Sobel served as the Executive Director of the URJ Canadian Council of Reform Judaism and ARZA Canada.