Nina Perlmutter

Rabbi Nina Perlmutter holds a Torah in the Grand Canyon.

General reflections

Today so many communities take it as a ‘given’ that women can be rabbis, and it seems important to note history and significance of the day.

I do a lot of interfaith work. Probably THE most predictable comment/question from non-Jewish attendees and colleagues is about women rabbis: folks saying they didn’t know women could be rabbis, asking when that changed, etc.


Being acknowledged by more folks on the more traditional side of the Jewish spectrum.


Seeing women rabbis helps expand expectations and possibilities young people have, and helps inspire older folks—especially women—about how things have changed positively since they were young.

That said, let’s remember that women rabbis are still human beings. So like male rabbis, we also have our strengths and weaknesses….


Family history/support

There were rabbis in my family -- many generations ago, in Europe. But as first-generation, American-born Jews, my parents were assertively “secular’ or “cultural” Jews.  

My decision to become a rabbi made them proud, but very surprised, and even confused….:-) 

Additional thoughts

I feel especially committed to supporting Yeshivat Maharat, and their work to ordain orthodox women. Their weekly Torah commentaries are reliably thought-provoking and spiritually inspiring.

Rabbi Nina Perlmutter is rabbi emerita of Congregation Lev Shalom in Flagstaff.