What if Noah had been an exemplary spiritual leader and not just, as the Torah tells us, a righteous person by the standards of his own generation? Picture Noah as a true prophet of his time, a man who knows that God is about to destroy the world. Such a person would have done far more than simply build an ark for his own family. He would have labored tirelessly to warn the entire human family. He would have spoken from every rooftop, announcing that the earth would soon be destroyed if they did not immediately change their lives. He would have begged, cajoled and proclaimed, “There is still time, but do not tarry, for the end of the earth is at hand!”
Twenty-five years ago, when I received my rabbinic ordination from the Jewish Theological Seminary, I was well aware of the historic nature of the occasion. On May 14, 1985, I became the first woman ordained in the Conservative movement, but I also knew that the path leading to this milestone was paved by many people.