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Over 50 Rabbis And Communal Leaders Call For More Women At The Top Of Jewish Organizations

It’s time to act. As a community, we have talked about the issue of gender equality for a long time. It has become part of who we are as Jews. We have made terrific strides in some areas of our communal life towards equality, but hiring at the senior levels of Jewish organizations isn’t one of them. In fact, we have made no progress toward increasing the number of women at the CEO level at our largest communal organizations. It is time to hold our organizations accountable for measurable progress in this area. We speak on our own behalf, as we believe it is time to create new networks of support in response to this need for change. We are eager to partner with you if you are interested in working towards gender equity in hiring. We invited leaders in our communities to sign this letter with us and invite you to add your name here and join our conversation.

Enough is enough — Dayenu.

Allison Fine, Sara Shapiro-Plevan, and Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu

Dear Boards of Directors of Jewish Institutions, Synagogues and Schools,

Each year the Forward publishes the list of salaries for the highest paid professionals in the Jewish institutional world. This year, no different from past years, a woman’s name doesn’t appear until number 29 on the list. And out of the top 56, only 8 are women. Women make up the majority of staff people at Jewish institutions and yet continue to be woefully underrepresented and in executive positions.

Enough is enough. Dayenu!

We need more transparent hiring practices and a commitment to gender equity throughout the hiring process. We ask that all Jewish organizations agree to the following hiring practices and post them on their websites and include them in all job postings and descriptions:

• An equal representation of women and men on hiring committees

• A commitment to having one-third of the candidates for a position be women

• A commitment to assigning a member of the hiring committee as a gender bias monitor.*

If you or members of your team are uneasy about the idea of requiring a certain number of women be in a pool of candidates, it means that you’re not trying hard enough to picture a woman in the job. If you think there are not enough qualified women to fill your position, you are not looking hard enough or advertising the position widely enough. Women are standing right in front of you banging their heads against the glass ceiling doing their jobs — now it’s time for you to do yours.

We invite you to share this letter with your organization’s staff and boards and to incorporate these ideas into your hiring practices. We also ask that you show your support for these ideas by signing this pledge.

Working together, we will create a culture where both women and men can serve the Jewish people to the best of their capacities. Join us on this open source Google Doc to share best practices, ideas and questions. We invite everyone to access it, share, and learn from one another. We will all benefit when men and women’s voices come together to lead our organizations. Let’s make this happen!


Allison Fine, Sara Shapiro-Plevan, and Rabbi Rebecca W. Sirbu

*We are currently planning this work and will provide more information on trainings as they become available.


Rick Aranson

Melissa Balaban

Robert Bank

Jamie Allen Black

Rabbi Sharon Brous

Shifra Bronznick

Dan Brown

Nina Bruder

Jeremy Burton

Rabbi Ayelet S. Cohen

Lisa Colton

Barbara Dobkin

Peter Eckstein

Dr. Deborah Skolnick Einhorn

Rabbi Amy Eilberg

Shira D. Epstein

Allison Fine

Dr. Andrea Jacobs

Sheila Katz

Steven Kerbel

Idit Klein

Aliza Kline

Jonathan Krasner

Nanette Fridman

Adina H. Frydman

Jill Goldenberg

Rabbi Lisa L Goldstein

Sally Gottesman

Rabbi Yechiel Hoffman, EdD

Michael Hopkins

Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster

Marty Linsky

Rabbi Sara Luria

Cheryl Magen

Elizabeth Mandel

Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon

Rabbi Marc Margolius

Rabbi Cheryl Peretz

Stefanie Rhodes

Eric M. Robbins

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

Rabbi Arnold D. Samlan

Rabbi Joanna Samuels

Kari Saratovsky

Sara Shapiro-Plevan

Bob Sherman

Rabbi Felicia L. Sol

Rabbi Michael Shire

Rabbi Andy Shugerman

Rabbi Rebecca Sirbu

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman

Cyd Weissman

Ron Wolfson


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