Redefining Rebbetzin

Nearly six years ago, a new graduate student in social work (Melissa) met a junior undergraduate (Jessica) at the Hillel Foundation onthier newly shared campus. Three years later, Jessica got married, and Melissa was her bridesmaid, and two years after that, Melissa got married and Jessica returned the favor.

The crazy part? Both boys turned out to be Spanish-Portuguese Jews who are aspiring rabbis. Now, we face, together, the prospect of being rabbi’s wives, traditionally known as rebbetzins. All four of us are Baal Teshuva (someone who lives a more traditionally observant Jewish life than they did ) in some form or another, two of us have converted, and none of us really knows exactly what to expect.

The seed of the blog idea came from the logo – the bird and the giraffe. Melissa feels a special affinity for giraffes, and Jessica for birds, and so it was the perfect logo for a joint venture. Since Jessica’s husband had just gotten into Rabbinical School and Melissa’s husband was planning a trip to visit the Rabbinical School he hopes to attend, the subject of becoming rabbi’s wives was very much in mind, and we knew that we wanted to talk about this through the lens of our Jewish journeys. All the rabbi’s wives we know are modern, independent, amazing, proudly Jewish women and we hope to reflect the best of all of them in our attempt to find our own paths. Thus, Redefining Rebbetzin was born!

We plan to update four times a week (only three times this week), chronicling the process of our husbands becoming rabbinical students, our own Jewish journeys as well as our thoughts, feelings and opinions on a variety of Jewish topics, especially those relating to women’s issues in Judaism. Two days a week we will post on the same topic, providing our unique perspectives, and the other two posts a week will be completely independant, based on that which has shaped us, articles we found particularly compelling, current events, and updates to our journey. We also hope to bring in guest posters, to bring new perspectives and ideas and broaden our discussion.

We’re really excited to be starting this new venture, and hope that you will join us as we share our wanderings through this exciting time of our lives. Hopefully you can get something out of this too. We love to hear from readers, and are especially excited for suggestions of topics of discussion. Just hit the tab at the top labeled “suggestions” to submit your ideas directly to us!

If you like what you find here, and want to stay connected, feel free to email us directly via the links in the side bar, follow us on Twitter (, or become our “fan” on Facebook (!

So, welcome! Let’s get this show on the road!

Stay tuned! Wednesday: Melissa’s story, a.k.a How the girl everyone thought would be a Rabbi found herself on the path to being a Rebbitzen.


9 thoughts on “Redefining Rebbetzin

    • As one of my friends summarized my article A New Hearing for Kol Ishah: “Someone should write a song, “Blame the Ashkenazim and have it performed by women before a mixed-sex audience.” 😛

      But seriously, if I loved Sephardim any more, I’d be guilty of committing avodah zara with Rabbi Marc Angel. 😛

      Okay, really seriously this time: which yeshiva(ot) are y’all’s husbands learning at?

      • Marc Angel is seriously a great guy!!

        And actually, right at the moment, neither of the husbands are studying at any yeshivaot. But they will be going to different ones.

    • You got us! But it’s a fabulous coincidence, and meant that our boys have almost as close a relationship as we do, building from such a great common space!

  1. Pingback: Happy Anniversary! « Redefining Rebbetzin

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