Joan Friedman
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Joan Friedman

Joan Friedman became the first woman to serve as a rabbi in Canada in 1980, when she was appointed as an Assistant Rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto.[1] Her appointment was followed shortly after by that of Elyse Goldstein as Assistant Rabbi from 1983-1986; Goldstein has been noted as the first female rabbi in Canada, but that is incorrect.[2][3] Friedman was ordained in 1980 (before she began as an Assistant Rabbi at Holy Blossom Temple) by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York.[4] Later she was named solo rabbi at B'nai Israel in Laconia, New Hampshire.[5] She also worked as the Jewish chaplain at Colgate University for six years, as a congregational rabbi in Bloomington, Indiana for five years, and on the faculties of Colgate and American Universities.[6] As of 2003 she was the associate chaplain for Jewish and interfaith life and coordinator of the Program in Ethical Reflection at Carleton College.[6] As of 2016 she is Associate Professor of History and Religious Studies and Chair of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the College of Wooster.[7]

She studied at the University of Pennsylvania as an undergraduate, and earned master's and Ph.D. degrees in Jewish history from Columbia University.[6] She received her Ph.D. in 2002, and her dissertation was entitled "Solomon B. Freehof, the 'Reform Responsa,' and the Shaping of American Reform Judaism."[6]

Awards and professional memberships


  • "Guidance, Not Governance": Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof and Reform Responsa, published by Hebrew Union College Press, 2013[7]
  • Assorted entries in Lindley, Susan Hill and Eleanor J. Stebner, eds., The Westminster Handbook to Women in American Religious History. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2008.[7]
  • "The Making of a Reform Rabbi: Solomon B. Freehof from Childhood to HUC," American Jewish Archives Journal, 58/1-2 (2006): 1-49.[7]
  • "The Writing of Reform Jewish Practice and Its Rabbinic Background," Central Conference of American Rabbis Journal, 51/3 (Summer 2004): 31-71.[7]
  • "A Critique of Solomon B. Freehof's Concept of Minhag and Reform Jewish Practice." In Re-examing Progressive Halakhah, Studies in Progressive Halakhah, ed. Walter Jacob and Moshe Zemer, 111-133. NY: Berghahn Books, 2002.[7]
  • "A Judaism of Ongoing Search." In Jewish Spiritual Journeys: Essays in Honor of Eugene B. Borowitz on his 70th Birthday, ed. Lawrence A. Hoffman and Arnold Jacob Wolf. NY: Behrman House, 1997.[7]
  • "The Last Jews of Czechoslovakia?" Soviet Jewish Affairs 19/1 (May, 1989).[7]
  • Viewer's Guide for PBS series "Heritage: Civilization and the Jews," 1983 (Co-author).[7]


  1. ^ "Women of Influence".
  2. ^
  3. ^ Malul, Chen (2012-11-08). "Women of the Wall, breaking down walls - Haaretz - Israel News". Retrieved .
  4. ^ "Canada Gets First Woman Rabbi". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
  5. ^ "Women Rabbis Moving Up Rabbinic Ladder in Latest Placements; 47 Women Ordained to Date". Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
  6. ^ a b c d "Carleton College". Carleton Now.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Joan S. Friedman". Wooster.

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