As I wrote to Sally Priesand years later, it was that famous (infamous?) article from the New York Times in the Spring of 1972, entitled “Her Ambition Is to Become a Rabbi— and a Housewife.” I didn’t know then what I wanted to do after graduating from college. I was considering some kind of Jewish professional future or, perhaps, law school. And suddenly, although I already knew it was a possibility, there appeared the picture of the real, mini-skirted Sally browsing through a book, determined to succeed as a rabbi. What was important to me was that she existed, that I could do that too, that I could be a rabbi, I really could. Several years ago, I was startled to discover that my then-new rabbinic colleague, Shena Potter, had been born after Sally was already a rabbi. Shena had never known a world without female rabbis. I felt old and thrilled!”
Mindy Avra Portnoy, ordained in 1980, is a rabbi at Temple Sinai in Washington, D. C.