Third Conference of European Women Rabbis, Jewish Community Politicians, Activists and Scholars


from Jewish Women’s Perspectives


The artists Tanya Ury, Anna Adam, Rita Frings, Irene Kaufmann 

and Hanna Thiede will exhibit their works during the conference


 Telephone of the conference office: 0163 – 517 11 52





Thursday, 22nd May 2003


11:00 a.m. – Unveiling of a memorial plaque for Bertha and Hermann Falkenberg

Lottumstrasse 22, Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg District

Bertha Falkenberg (1876-1946) was the chairwoman of the Jewish Women’s League in Berlin and first female member of the parliament of the Jewish Community of Berlin; Hermann Falkenberg (1869-1936) was the founder of the Norden Liberal Synagogue.

Almuth Nehring-Venus, Berlin’s Pankow District Council

Dr. Hermann Simon, Centrum Judaicum

Lara Dämmig & Elisa Klapheck, Bet Debora

Edna Sovin, Granddaughter of the Falkenbergs (London)

Music: Anne-Lisa Nathan (alto)


2:00 p.m.– Walking Tour of Jewish Sites in Prenzlauer Berg, meeting point: Synagogue,

Rykestrasse 53; Iris Weiss, Andrea Gärtner



5:30 p.m. – Opening of the conference “Power and Responsibility” from Jewish Women’s 

Perspectives (Great Hall)

Welcoming Address

Elisa Klapheck & Lara Dämmig

Experiences of Power in Jewish Institutions

Charlotte Knobloch, Vice President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany

New Opportunities – Women in Positions of Responsibility

Cynthia Kain, Vice Chairwoman of the Jewish Community of Berlin

Gender Mainstreaming in Berlin’s Politics and Administration

Dr. Ute Weinmann (Senate of Berlin, Department of Economy, Labout and Women’s Affairs)

Music: Anne-Lisa Nathan


7:30 p.m. – Lecture (Great Hall):

Jewishness, Gender and Power – an Analysis (English)

Prof. Dr. Nira Yuval-Davis (London)


8:30 p.m. – Light Meal (Gallery)


Friday, 23 May 2003


8:00 a.m.- Shacharit (followed by breakfast, Gallery right)

Rabbi Bea Wyler, Oldenburg


10:15 a.m. – Panel Discussion (Great Hall)

Politics for the Kehillah – Politics for Women? – Jewish Women in Positions of Leaderschip

Gabriele Brenner, president, Jewish Community of Weiden

Tatyana Eesik, president, Progressive Jewish Community of Tallin

Cynthia Kain, vice-president, Jewish Community of Berlin

Prof. Dr. Rita Kleiman, president, Jewish Community of Kishinev

Liliana Furman, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JOINT), Freiburg

Chair: Sandra Lustig, Berlin


1:00-2:00 p.m. – Lunch (Gallery)


3:00 p.m. – Discussions, Workshops and Shiurim


1. Reality in Synagogues (Great Hall, German/English)

“Women as Decisors of Halachah”, Rabbi Gesa Ederberg (Weiden, Berlin);

“Knowledge is Power. But Not Knowing Doesn’t Matter? The Relationship between Learning Women and the Established Orthodox or Traditional Community Structures”, Silke Goldberg (London);

“Contemporary Rabbinic Responses to the ‘Liberation’ of Women”, Prof. Dr. Alice Shalvi (Jerusalem)


2. Jewish Feminism – a Perspective for Everyone? (303, Russian/English)

“The Religious Life of Jewish Women in Poland”, Bella Szwarcman-Czarnota (Midrasz, Warsaw);

“The Contribution of Jewish Women as Rebbe, Rabbi and Rebbezin to the History of Women in Prague”, Sylvie Wittmanova (Bejt Simcha, Prague);

“Projects of Jewish Women in the former Soviet Union”, Svetlana Yakimenko (Kesher, Moscow); Chair: Dr. Tania Reytan-Marincheshka (Sofia)


3. “Fourth” Power? Journalists and Editors in Jewish Media (306, German/English)

What kinds of themes are women asked to cover? Are women breaking into areas formerly “occupied” mostly be men? Do they get “front page” stories? Are there many women in Jewish news organisations on a high level (editors)? Are female experts quoted in articles on various subjects? What can be done to improve awareness of journalists of female experts?

Toby Axelrod (“Jewish Telegraphic Agency”, Berlin); Andrea Deak (“Esther’s Bag”, Budapest); Katarina Jelinkova (“Maskil, Prague); Wanya Kruyer (“Nieuw Israelitisch Weekblad”, Amsterdam); Chair: Dr. Susanna Keval (Jüdische Gemeindezeitung, Frankfurt)


4. Self Empowerment through Art (Meeting point: conference office, German/English),

Marion Kahnemann (Dresden), Tanya Ury (Cologne), Chair: Dr. Hanna Rheinz (Munich)


5. Power and Powerlessness of Women in the Bible (309, German)

Rabbi Bea Wyler (Oldenburg)


6. Oral History (Gallery right, English)

Practical workshop on documenting life stories of conference participants

Irene Reti (University of California)


7. Breathing Workshop: Power and Touching (Gallery left, German)

Breathing – Touching is the condition of the perception of yourself. Through the experience of “nefesh” (vegetative breath) the power and dynamic of “ruach” (powerful breath) of the other is activated. We become conscious of this through our movements of breath and sensations of the body. Please bring comfortable clothes and socks with you.

Batia Blumenberg (Berlin)


8. Bibliodrama: When Miriam Hits the Stained Glass Ceiling (307, English)

In Torah, Num. 12, Miriam breaks out in “tz-ra-at” after being humiliated by G’d who is described as a “father who has spat in his daughter’s eye“. Moses has been declared the true leader and a few verses later Aaron will be promoted to High Priest. How many of us have encountered toxic barriers to women becoming equal leaders in Jewish life? How are we affected by our struggles? Can we redeem such texts?

Rabbi Goldie Milgram & Dr. Sharon Ufberg (San Francisco)


6:15 p.m.– Panel Discussion: Power of Definition (Great Hall)

Who has the power to define concepts in Jewishness and feminism? Which structures of dominance define the relationships between Jewish women in the East and West?

Deidre Berger (American Jewish Committee, Berlin), Becca Lazarova (Lauder Foundation, Sofia), Svetlana Yakimenko & Sharon Ufberg (“Kesher”, Moscow & San Francisco),

Chair: Lara Dämmig & Elisa Klapheck (Berlin)


8:30 p.m.- Kabbalat Shabbat (Great Hall)

Jalda Rebling (Berlin)


Followed by Kiddush and Dinner



Saturday, 24 May 2003


10:00 a.m.- Shabbat Shacharit (Great Hall)


1:00-2:00 p.m. Kiddush and Lunch (Gallery)


3:00 p.m.– Discussions, Workshops and Shiurim


1. Queens (303, German/English)

“Female Regents in Biblical Times“, Bente Groth (Oslo University)

„Power and Female Sovereignty in the Talmud“, Prof. Dr. Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert (Stanford University)


2. The Double Limitation in Literature – To Be Jewish and Feminist (Gr. Hall, English)

Power and Language: On the misuse of language, particularly the German language. The quality of language and how writers – especially Jewish women writers – come to terms with it.

One becomes a woman in the very practice of signs by which we live, write, speak, see… This panel discusses the differences in literary works written by men and women and our beliefs about “innate” gender roles; it explains, why and how the expression of women’s experiences are different from men’s.

Ruth Fruchtman, writer (Berlin); Karen Margolis, writer (Berlin); Dr. Katalin Pesci, literary studies scholar (Budapest); Prof. Dr. Rita Kleiman, literary studies scholar (Kishinev)


3. Aging and Authority (306, German/English)

„Spiritual Aging“, Carola de Vries (Amsterdam)

„The Responsibility of the Young towards the Old“, Dr. Irene Runge (Berlin)

„Honour Father and Mother“, Prof. Dr. Alice Shalvi (Jerusalem)


4. Dinah as a Paradigm of Dominance and Omnipotence (307, German)

We shall discuss rabbinic literature (Midrash) on the story of Jacob’s daughter Dinah and the reason why she – despite her name (female legislator) – hasn’t become an originator of Jewish legislation, Rabbi Prof. Dr. Eveline Goodman-Thau (Berlin)


5. Why is there no Synagogue Sanctuary Movement? (309, German/English)

Some churches have a modern history of offering people protection against deportation and state violence. This “sanctuary movement” is public and political. Why do we not provide “synagogue sanctuary”? And isn’t it time that we did? J.K. Langford (Berlin)


6. Bibliodrama: Heritage – Self-Empowerment and Participation: the Daughters of Zelophechad (Gallery left, German, only for Jewish women)

Bibliodrama as midrash (Peter Pizzele) will cover: what is the message of Noa, Milka, Hogla, Machla and Tirzah for the situation of Jewish women today? Iris Weiss (Berlin)


7. Opportunities and Obstacles of Women’s Networking (Gallery right, German)Gabriele Noa Lerner & Gunda Wöbken-Ekert


5:15 p.m.– Discussions, Workshops and Shiurim


1. Walking Tour: Jewish Women as Pioneers of Modern Social Work,

(Meeting Point: Entrance of Conference Building)

Guided tour to pre-Shoah institutions and concepts of Jewish social work and the pioneer contributions of Jewish women for today’s professional social work. Iris Weiss (Berlin)


2. Lecture and Slides: “Transcending the Ladder” (303, English)

“Transcending the Ladder” – Lecture on the development and background to her exhibition “Jacob’s Ladder”, Text (English) with slides about dealing with the problem of invisibility in a society geared to commercial and entertainment values.Tanya Ury (Cologne)


3. Writing Workshop: Power and Powerlessness: Women, Work & Judaism (306, German/English), Karen Margolis (Berlin) & other artists


4. “Naming” our many Selves – A Jewish Naming Ritual for Women (307, German/English), Workshop to create naming rituals. What do our names say about us? We will discuss the history and purposes of “Jewish” names and adult naming rituals. Written resources and discussion will help participants focus on possible names. The workshop will end with a naming ritual, in which all of us will have the option of receiving new name. Lori Klein & Elisa Klapheck


5. The Book of Ruth – Solidarity and Power in Female Relationships (309, German)

Aspects of the Midrash, Esther Kontarsky (Berlin)


6. Female Authority – Male Perspectives (Great Hall, German/English)

“Men who Follow in the Footsteps of Women”

Until the 1970s the rabbinate was a male profession. Since then, much of the Jewish world has become used to women as rabbis – and also as Jewish scholars and teachers at rabbinical colleges. Today, at the beginning of the 21st century, there are men who have experienced the rabbinate as a female profession: as congregants, as rabbinic students, and indeed as rabbis following in he footsteps of women colleagues. Rabbi James Baaden (London)

“New Impulses for Male Academics”,

Reflections about female authority by a Jewish historian, who has studied the place of women in one medieval society, witnessed the feminist revolution in American academia, and participates in an egalitarian Jewish community in New York. Rabbi Prof. Dr. Mark Cohen (Princeton University, New York/Berlin)


7. Worldly Jewish Women – A Possible Model (Gallery right, English)

A lesbian feminist rabbi thinks about whether, and if so, how, within Judaism and the Jewish world, women can be understood to be fully persons. Rabbi Sheila Shulman (London)


7:30-8:30 p.m. – Dinner (Gallery)


9:00 p.m.- Concert (Great Hall)

Elzbieta Sternlicht (piano) playing the works of Fanny Hensel (Mendelssohn).


Followed by a Havdalah with cantor Avitall Gerstetter



Sunday, 25 May 2003


9:15 a.m.- Shacharit (Gallery right)


10:15 a.m. – Panel Discussion (Great Hall)

Jewish Women and their Responsibility for Politics and Society

What are the possible feminist responses to militarism? How to gender war? How can Tikkun Olam be realised in our world today? Is there a future for Jewish particularisms? Responses to war in a maternal frame – realities and perspectives.

Dr. Tania Reytan-Marincheshka (Sofia), Prof. Dr. Alice Shalvi (Jerusalem), Rabbi Sheila Shulman (London), Anetta Kahane (Amadeo-Antonio-Foundation, Berlin)

Chair: Elisa Klapheck & Lara Dämmig (Berlin)


12:45-13:45 p.m. – Light Meal (Gallery)


Bet Debora – Perspectives

Panel Discussions (Great Hall)

2:00 p.m.- Think Tank and Platform for European Jewish Women

Elisa Klapheck & Lara Dämmig (Berlin)

Dr. Katalin Pecsi & Andrea Deak (Budapest)


3:00 p.m.- Religion is Political – Creating Forums for Socio-Political and Multicultural

Debates in cooperation with “Sarah-Hagar: Religion, Politics, Gender”,

Tradition as a Tool of Power, with Irene Pabst (Christian theologian), Dr. Rabeya Müller & Miyesser Ildem (Centre of Islamic Women’s Studies), Maya Zehden (Association for Christian-Jewish Cooperation), Carola von Braun (ÜPFI, Association of Women Parlamentarians),

Chair: Dr. Hanna Rheinz


End: 6 p.m.


8:00 p.m.– Films by Deborah Phillips: “Mosaïc” and “Noor”, “Three”, “Purim” (short films)

Filmkunsthaus Babylon, 5.50 euros (Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz)

“Three” – abstract presentation of the history of Jewish immigration

“Purim” – associations of a Jewish holiday

“Noor” – reflections of light as a symbol of hope

“Mosaic” – a Jewish-Islamic symbioses of architecture



Thanks to the Hanadiv Charitable Foundation, the Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, the Central Council of Jews in Germany (Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland), the Senate of Berlin (Department of Economy, Labour and Women’s Affairs), the Jewish Community of Berlin, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, the Hadassah Int. Research Institute on Jewish Women at Brandeis University (, Schering AG and Gabriele Henkel.




Toby Axelrod – Germany correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Jewish Chronicle, lives in Berlin


Rabbi James Baaden – journalist and rabbi of the South London Liberal Synagogue, the first synagogue outside of the USA to appoint a woman as its full-time congregational rabbi, namely Julia Neuberger in 1977, who later became his teacher.


Deidre Berger – Managing Director of the American Jewish Committee Berlin Office, worked for 15 years for various media as a foreign correspondent based in Germany


Batia Blumenberg – pedagogue and breathing therapist, professor at the pedagogic-theological institute of Berlin, one of her foci: voice


Carola von Braun – founder and spokeswoman of the “Überparteiliche Fraueninitiative Berlin” (association of female politicians of all parties in Berlin), first deputy for women’s affairs in the Senate of Berlin (1984-90), former member of the German Bundestag, member of the Free Democratic Party (FDP)


Gabriele Brenner – studied German literature, history and social sciences, president of the Jewish community of Weiden (Germany) since 1995, strong engagement in the integration of immigrants, adult education and social work


Rabbi Prof. Dr. Mark R. Cohen – historian at Princeton University, this year Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, numerous publications, including “Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages” (1994)


Lara Dämmig – co-founder of “Bet Debora” and “Sarah – Hagar“, initiated in the 1990s the Egalitarian Minian of Berlin and a Rosh Chodesh group, author of “Bertha Falkenberg” (in “Mit der Erinnerung leben”, 1996), editor of “Prayers of Bertha Pappenheim” (2003)


Andrea Deak – “Esthers Tasche”, Budapest


Rabbi Gesa Schira Ederberg – congregational rabbi of the Jewish community of Weiden (Germany), principal of the Masorti centre in Berlin, ordained this year at the Solomon Schechter Institute in Jerusalem


Tanya Eesik – President of the Progressive Jewish Community of Tallinn (Estonia)


Prof. Dr. Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert – teaches rabbinic literature at Stanford University in California and previously at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, author of “Menstrual Purity. Rabbinic and Christian Reconstructions of Biblical Gender” (2000)


Ruth Fruchtman – writer, born in London, lives in Germany and writes in German. Fiction and radio documentary features, mainly on Polish-Jewish and Israeli-Palestinian relations


Liliane Furman – programme director for social and pedagogic projects of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JOINT) in Germany, lives in Freiburg


Cantor Avitall Gerstetter – first female congregational cantor from Germany, officiates at the Berlin synagogues Oranienburger Strasse and Huettenweg


Silke Goldberg – historian and lawyer working in an international law firm in London. She was part of the first group of Susie Bradfield Fellows at the London School of Jewish Studies and is currently writing her PhD on Rabbi Jacob Emden


Rabbi Prof. Dr. Eveline Goodman-Thau – director of the Hermann-Cohen-Academy in Buchen (Germany), visiting professor of cultural Jewish history at the Institute of Philosophy in Vienna, founder of the women’s congregation “Em Kol Chaj“, visiting rabbi of various Jewish communities


Bente Groth – Cand Philol, professor for the history of religions at the University of Oslo (Norway), specialised on religions of the Middle East, Judaism and religion & gender, author and editor of various books on Judaism


Miyesser Ildem – Centre for Islamic Women’s Studies and Support in Cologne


 Katerina Jelinkova – majored in Judaism and religious studies, coordinator of “Bejt Simcha” congregation in Prague (Czech Republic), editor of the monthly magazine “Maskil”.


Anetta Kahane – managing director of the Amadeo-Antonio-Foundation, which tries to combat racism and right-winged extremism in Germany, member of the parliament of the Jewish Community of Berlin


Marion Kahnemann – sculptor, her works are inspired by rabbinic literature, lives in Dresden (Germany)


Cynthia Kain – vice president of the Jewish Community of Berlin, in charge of social affairs, former chairwoman of WIZO-Aviv Germany


Dr. Susanna Keval – editor of the Jewish community journal of Frankfort/M., co-founder of the Egalitarian Minian, involved in Jewish feminist debates in Germany


Elisa Klapheck – editor of “Jewish Berlin” and rabbinical student in the Aleph Rabbinic Program, co-founder of “Bet Debora” and “Sarah – Hagar” in Berlin, author and editor of “Miss Rabbi Jonas. Can a Woman Be a Rabbi?” (2000) and “Prayers of Bertha Pappenheim” (2003)


Prof. Dr. Rita Kleiman – Professor of literature, head of the Academic Judaica Department and chairwoman of the Jewish community of Kishinev (Modavia)


Lori Klein – lawyer and student in the Aleph Rabbincal Program (Jewish Renewal), lay leader for the chavurah “Chadeish Yameinu“. Her passion is blending new types of ritual with traditional prayer.


Charlotte Knobloch – vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, president of the Jewish Community of Munich


Esther Kontarsky – scholar of music and Jewish studies, lives in Berlin


Wanya Kruyer – journalist and co-founder of “Beit Chidush” in Amsterdam, writes for “Nieuw Israelitisch Dagblad”


J.K. Langford – educator, writer and performer, works in Berlin and London, focuses on colonialism, European border violence, racism and antisemitism – and the meaning of prayer


Becca Lazarova – economist, publisher, vice-president of the Jewish community of Sofia (Bulgaria), member of the executive board of the European Council of Jewish Communities, for the last 6 years work for the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation


Gabriele Noa Lerner – theologian and multimedia producer, business woman, founder of the “Network of Jewish Women” (Berlin)


Sandra Lustig – Managing Partner at the Ecologic Institute in Berlin, she is editing a book on European Jewry in the present and future


Karen Margolis – writer and poet, lived in South Africa, London and Berlin, author of numerous books and articles, including “The Technology of Political Control” and “To Eat or Not to Eat”


Rabbi Goldie Milgram – known as “Reb Goldie”, American travelling rabbi, founder and director of “”, established the world’s first University-level programme of Jewish women’s studies, co-chair of Project “Kesher” in the NIS


Dr. Rabeya Müller – Centre for Islamic Women’s Studies and Support


Anne-Lisa Nathan – Alto, born in Paris, member of the choir of the Berlin synagogue Pestalozzistrasse


Irene Pabst – protestant theologian, currently is writing her dissertation titled “Sarah and Hagar in Rabbinic Literature”, works for Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste in Berlin


Dr. Katalin Pesci – co-founder and editor of “Esther’s Bag”, a Jewish women’s group and journal in Budapest, essayist and translator on the field of contemporary Jewish literature and film, as well as feminist cultural theory


Dr. Andrea Petö – sociologist and historian at the universities of Miskolc and Budapest, teaches Central European history, oral history and women’s history, co-founder and editor of “Esther’s Bag“, a Jewish women’s group and journal in Budapest


Deborah Phillips – artist and film maker, meditative experimental collages of the universe of oriental and occidental as well as Jewish and Muslim history of culture


Jalda Rebling – actor and singer in Berlin, specialised in Ashkenasi and Sephardi music


Irene Reti – oral historian at the University of California, Santa Cruz, publisher of “HerBooks feminist press”, daughter of Shoah survivors from Nuremberg and Budapest, author of “Keeper of Memory” (2001)


Prof. Dr. Tania Reytan-Marincheshka – scholar in politics and religion, University professor and human rights activist in Sofia (Bulgaria), involved in Jewish women’s issues, scholar of Hadassah International Research Institute on Jewish Women at Brandeis University in 2001/2002


Dr. Hanna Rheinz – psychologist, writer, teacher, involved in various artistic and scientific projects, special focus: Jewish female psychohistory, author of “The Jewish Woman. In Search of a Modern Identity” (1998)


Dr. Irene Runge – chairwoman of the Jewish Culture Association in Berlin, remigration from the USA to East Germany in 1949, sociologist and journalist, PhD on “Ageing in the City”, co-founder of the East Berlin group “We for us – Jews for Jews” in 1986


Prof. Dr. Alice Shalvi – until recently rector of the Solomon Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem, founder of the Israel Women’s Network


Rabbi Sheila Shulman – born in New York, anchored in “2nd Wave” radical lesbian feminism, congregational rabbi at “Beit Klal Yisrael” in London, Lecturer at Leo Baeck College


Elzbieta Sternlicht – pianist and music professor at the University of Arts in Berlin, studied in Warsaw and Paris


Bella Szwarcman-Czarnota – scholar of philosophy, linguist and editor of the Jewish-Polish magazine “Midrasz”, translates from French, Russian and Yiddish, member of Warsaw’s Jewish community and the Jewish Forum


Dr. Sharon Ufberg – national chair-elect of Project “Kesher”, also holds a seat on the World ORT Board of Directors, is a National officer of Women’s American ORT, board chair of Reclaiming Judaism and Board member of “Lehrhaus Judaica” in Berkeley, California. She is a dedicated Jewish feminist peace activist.


Tanya Ury – artist, author and curator, since 1988 video, performance and lectures for exhibitions, festivals and universities in Europe and Canada. She has produced photographic and holographic art, audiotexts and installation, lives in Cologne (Germany).


Carola de Vries – psychologist, psychotherapist, teacher and trainer in the Spiritual Eldering Institute in Boulder (USA), founder and coordinator of Jewish Renewal activities in the Netherlands, gives Jewish Spirituality and Jewish meditation workshops and retreats


Iris Weiss – sociologist and researcher of Jewish history in Berlin, leader of bibliodrama workshops, editor of and the Jewish internet magazine haGalil onLine ( focussing on the city of Berlin and Jewish women


Sylvie Wittmannová – theologian and founder of Prague’s first liberal Jewish community “Bejt Simcha” in 1992, organises Jewish educational tours in the Czech Republic


Gunda Wöbken-Ekert – jurist and journalist, active in the “Network of Jewish Women” (Berlin)


Rabbi Bea Wyler – ordained at the conservative Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, rabbi in Oldenburg and professor at the University of Oldenburg, journalist for radio and print media


Svetlana Yakimenko – English language teacher, peace activist in Moscow, founder of “Kesher” together with the American Sallie Gratch in the former Soviet Union in 1989. “Kesher” has 2,500 members and runs 115 women groups. Aims: renewing of Jewish life and empowerment of women


Prof. Dr. Nira Yuval-Davis – diasporic Israeli, professor of gender, sexualities and ethnic studies at the University of East London, president of the Research Committee on Race, Ethnicity and Minority Relations of the International Sociological Association. Numerous publications, including “Gender and Nation” (1997)


Maya Zehden – managing director of the “Association for Christian-Jewish Co-operation” and journalist in Berlin