Stay up to date with the latest from MAKERS delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for new stories from trailblazing women, a big dose of inspiration, and exclusive MAKERS content.

Newsletter Confirmation

Thank you for joining! Please check your inbox for our special welcome letter
with exclusive updates from MAKERS.


Moving Past Frustration

Moving Past Frustration

More From Sara

In this video

Tagged as

Hurwitz on putting aside her intellectual frustration with her limitations as a female rabbi, and moving forward day-to-day.

Sara's Biography

Cause of Choice: Yeshivat Maharat
Biggest Influence Never Met: The biblical character - Devorah the Prophetess.
First Job:  The Gap
Early Leadership Experience: As an adolescent, she founded the Holocaust Memorial event and programming at her public school in South Florida.

Sara Hurwitz is the first officially ordained “Rabba,” in Orthodox Judaism. She is the Rabba at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale and the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat, also in Riverdale, New York.
After emigrating with her family from South Africa, she spent her teenage years in Boca Raton, Florida. Her early affinity for religious community life was affirmed when she took a high school vocational test that recommended that she join the clergy. At the time, however, Orthodox women were not allowed to serve as rabbis, so she considered the suggestion impossible.
Yet Hurwitz’s relationship with Judaism continued to grow. During her time as a college student at Barnard College, she helped lead several student Jewish organizations. Soon she began lecturing and teaching at conferences and synagogue meetings throughout the country. After graduation, she was accepted to the Drisha Institute’s Scholar Circle Program in New York City.
Upon completion of her coursework at the Drisha Institute, Hurwitz began studying under the Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, New York. Over seven years, she received all of the training required of a rabbi, learning how to give spiritual guidance, issue legal rulings, and counsel her congregants. In 2009, Rabbi Weiss officially ordained Hurwitz, giving her the title “Maharat", and later converting it to “Rabba” (a feminized version of rabbi) to more clearly convey her full rabbinic role.
While Hurwitz’s ordainment caused a fierce backlash from some in the Orthodox community, she maintained her title and her leadership position. Seeing the hunger of other women to follow her path to the rabbinate, she helped found to Yeshivat Maharat, an organization whose goal is to train and integrate Orthodox women into the spiritual and halakhic leadership.

Related Videos

Melinda Gates
Melinda Gates
Co-Chair and Trustee, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

As co-chair and trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates helps to shape and approve strategies, setting the overall direction for the foundation. In develo...

Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Brownstein
Musician & Actor

Born and raised in Washington, Portlandia's Carrie Brownstein started her career in music at The Evergreen State College. It was 1995 when she became the guitarist and vocalist...

Monica Crowley
Monica Crowley
Conservative Commentator & Author

Conservative radio and television commentator Monica Crowley began her career in radio on WABC-AM New York as a frequent guest on the "Batchelor and Alexander Show". ...

Ophelia Dahl
Ophelia Dahl
World Health Care Advocate

Ophelia Dahl is an American health care advocate who has fought for the rights of the poor and sick for over twenty years. The daughter of two accomplished parents, author Roald Da...