Rabbis of Reform Judaism select first woman president

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) California's Janet Marder has been chosen the first woman to lead the rabbis in Judaism's liberal Reform branch.

As president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis beginning Saturday, she leads an organization of 1,800 members, 377 of them women.

The Reform branch has ordained women rabbis since 1972; today, half of those studying to become Reform rabbis are female.

Marder has led Congregation Beth Am in Los Altos Hills, Calif., since 1999. Nearly 1,300 families belong to the Silicon Valley congregation near Stanford University.

She was previously regional director for Reform's synagogue union and rabbi of Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles, the first synagogue with an outreach to gays and lesbians to be accepted by the Reform movement.

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