“All of us had unbelievable chutzpah.” The true story of the women who helped change Conservative Judaism


New York Post article about Ezrat Nashim from March 14, 1972. Courtesy of Leora Fishman.

Fifty years ago, a group of young Jewish women piled into two cars and drove to upstate New York to crash the annual meeting of the all-male Rabbinical Assembly of the Conservative movement. They called themselves Ezrat Nashim and they had a set of demands that included the right to be counted in a minyan, lead religious services, and attend rabbinical school.

Their brief but brave action had ripple effects across American Jewish communities. In this second episode of Can We Talk?’s anniversary series, Judith Rosenbaum talks with Martha Ackelsberg, Dina Rosenfeld, and Leora Fishman, three of the women who were involved. Judith’s mother, the Jewish feminist scholar Paula Hyman z”l, was also part of Ezrat Nashim.  The episode is dedicated to her.

The story of Ezrat Nashim

The Jewish Women’s Archive

The St. Louis Jewish Light is proud to announce a new partnership with the JWA. Together, we will bring many parts of the JWA collection to St. Louis readers, as well as promote the “Can We Talk?” podcast by sharing both current and past relevant episodes each week.

Mission: The Jewish Women’s Archive documents Jewish women’s stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change.

The Jewish Women’s Archive is a national organization dedicated to collecting and promoting the extraordinary stories of Jewish women. JWA explores the past as a framework for understanding the issues important to women today; inspires young people with remarkable role models; and uses Jewish women’s stories to excite people to see themselves as agents of change.

This website is the world’s largest collection of information on Jewish women, and draws 2.5 million visitors a year seeking information, inspiration, community, and a sense of identity. We hope you enjoy exploring the thousands of stories of inspiring women here! JWA also hosts public programs; trains the thought leaders of tomorrow through the Rising Voices Fellowship; sparks conversation with its blogpodcast, and social media presence; and is a leading voice in feminist and Jewish spheres.