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Orthodox woman to head ‘transdenominational’ rabbinical school

by Gil Shefler, JTA

January 16, 2013 | 4:20 pm

An Orthodox woman was named the president of a "transdenominational" rabbinical school in Southern California.

Tamar Frankiel, who holds a doctorate in the history of religions, will helm the Academy for Jewish Religion at Claremont Lincoln University, it was announced this week.

In a statement, the Southern California school's board said the appointment of an Orthodox woman to head the institution was "groundbreaking."

"I am delighted to become the new leader of this unique, forward-thinking seminary," Frankiel was quoted as saying. "The fact that our board and community chose an Orthodox woman as president is testimony to AJRCA's deep commitment to pluralism."

According to the university's website, Frankiel is the author of several books on Judaism and Christianity, and has taught at Stanford, Princeton and the University of California, Berkeley. She previously served as the academy's provost and a professor of comparative religion.

The website noted Frankiel as a major force behind Claremont Lincoln University, the academy’s collaborative initiative with the Claremont School of Theology and the Islamic Center of Southern California.

The Academy ordains Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal and nondenominational rabbis. Orthodox Judaism, which Frankiel practices, does not recognize the ordination of female rabbis.

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