October 21, 2021

The Queens County Citizen

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Iris Ferreira, the first female rabbi, was ordained a priest in France on Sunday

Iris Ferreira, the first female rabbi, was ordained a priest in France on Sunday

Iris Ferreira, 29, will be the first woman rabbi to hold the priesthood in France on Sunday, as we learned from the liberal Judaism movement.

She will become the fifth woman rabbi to hold the priesthood abroad after Pauline Bebe, Delphine Harville, Florian Chinsky and Daniela Touti.

Etienne Kerber, 36, a liberal of Judaism, is appointed rabbi along with her.

Both rabbis in their communities in Paris receive “semicha” (transmission of authority from one rabbi to another) from Tom Cohen and Pauline Bebela. No such incident has taken place in France for 53 years.

The liberal movement dominated most of the Anglo-Saxon world, but minorities in France favored the open vision of Judaism. Unlike conservatives and Orthodox, Halacha, who believes that handing over the rabbinite to a woman is not in accordance with Jewish law, believes that women have the same rights as men in all areas.

After four years in medicine, Iris Ferreira, licensed in Hebrew, went to study at Leo Beck College in London for five years, having no rabbinical training for the liberal movement in France.

The person who first visited the communities of Orthodox Judaism in the west of France told the AFP that she had found an “opening that allows everyone to go in a free context” in the liberal movement.

She goes to work at the Liberal Jewish Union of Strasbourg (UJLS) at the “currently Liberal Rabbi Free Association”.

“We are at a turning point in Jewish life. I believe this will meet the need in society,” she said, adding that many women currently in training will become rabbis in the next four or five years.

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Etienne Kerber studied English and American literature, fascinated by Rabbinite “from adolescence.” He has a background as a musician and rock band and does not like to give up music.

Trained at Leo Beck College, he co-founded the Liberal Jewish Community of Paris with Pauline Bebe.

In addition, the two will teach at the Rabbinical School of Paris at the beginning of the academic year, which will open its doors in September 2019 and train ten liberal rabbis.

The ceremony, which will take place on Sunday, will be attended by Leo Beck College, two other rabbis who were set up at the same time in Cambridge and Amsterdam.

In June 2019, an international conference of women rabbis or teachers from the United States, Israel and France was held in Trois, the first of its kind in France. The question of whether these women have a great place in Judaism is at the heart of the debate.

In all there are a thousand female rabbis in the world. About 800 operate in the United States, 50 in Europe, and the rest in Israel.

There are now ten liberal rabbis (men and women) practicing in France.