First for Orthodox Rabbinic group. In a sign of changing times, Dr. Michelle Friedman of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (YCT), has been invited to join the board of the Beth Din of America, the religious court of the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA). Friedman, founder and chair of the Department of Pastoral Counseling at YCT, a progressive Orthodox rabbinical school in New York, is the first woman invited to serve in this capacity. This follows RCA’s decision last week to appoint a new conversion committee, including five women. (It is worth nothing that there are no YCT-ordained rabbis who have been accepted to the RCA). I imagine Rabbi Pruzansky is thrilled. [The Jewish Week]
Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly photo feature in which we sift 116 years of Forward history to find snapshots of women’s lives.
A woman shouts claiming for her abortion right during a demonstration in Madrid, Spain // Getty Images
The press called her a “Queen Among Thieves” and the person who “first put crime in America on a syndicated basis.” In 1884, The New York Times named her “the nucleus and center of the whole organization of crime in New York City.” During the Gilded Age, Fredericka Mandelbaum, a German-Jewish immigrant, rose to power as the country’s premier fence—seller of stolen goods. Described as “a huge woman weighing more than two hundred and fifty pounds” with “extraordinarily fat cheeks,” Mandelbaum was the head of one of the first organized crime rings and a driving force behind New York City’s underworld for more than twenty-five years. J. North Conway, who has written the new biography “Queen of Thieves: The True Story of “Marm” Mandelbaum and Her Gangs of New York,” talks with The Forward’s Sarah Breger about life in the Gilded Age, chasing the American dream and why no one has turned Mandelbaum’s life into a Hollywood blockbuster.