My Shero: Rabbi Susan Silverman

Look, Susan Silverman already had me at “Hello, I survived the same screwed up childhood as my sister Sarahand instead of growing up and talking about shaved tuchus puckers, I became a rabbi.”

But Rabbi Susan has earned even more of this Yenta’s mad respect for her delightful act of civil disobedience at Jerusalem’s Western Wall last week. To protest the gender segregation at one of the world’s holiest places, she and her oldest daughter, Hallel, along with eight other women, donned tallit (prayer shawls) and sang prayers to heaven. That’s against the law in Israel — for women. Mother and daughter were arrested and escorted away, banned from even setting foot at the wall for 15 days. Something tells me they’ll be back.

Rabbi Susan is also deeply involved with American Jewish World Service and has adopted two orphans, evidence of how she puts her rachmones where her mouth is. But I really admire her willingness to stand up to the Orthodoxy and its monopoly on what being Jewish really means.


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